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North Ayrshire 'What matters to you?' day from Gavin Paterson, Engagement Officer, North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership

Image result for North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership

22 June 2017

Having recently made a commitment to move from consultation to co-production, it was no surprise that North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership fully embraced What Matters to You Day 2017.

We recently began discussions about how we might engage with the public prior to developing our next strategic plan. This is a high level plan, which would set out fresh priorities over the following three years and therefore it is crucial that the residents of North Ayrshire have their say on the plan’s content. Recognising that lived experience should always be central to any piece of work within health and social care, we would need to begin speaking to the public before pen was put to paper and begin the conversation with an open question. Enter stage right What Matters to You Day!

Before committing to a partnership-wide approach to What Matters to You Day, we recognised the responsibility that comes with asking such a question, especially on a large scale. As soon as you ask someone ‘What matters to you?’ you are committed to listening and ultimately acting on what you have heard. Ask, listen and do. If you are not committed to listening and then doing, then it is usually better not to ask the question at all. Have you ever been asked ‘What matters to you?’ realising that the person is not listening to you? It can be very disempowering. Therefore, we took this commitment very seriously and still do. We wanted to ask what matters, listen to what matters and do what matters.

For our purposes, we decided to alter the question slightly, to focus people’s thinking on health and social care, whilst still maintaining the openness of the question. After internal discussions and conversations with people on the streets of North Ayrshire, we decided that we would ask ‘What matters to you about health and social care services in North Ayrshire?’

What Matters to You Day would offer us several opportunities with what we later named the four tiers of opportunity.

  1. The first opportunity, or tier one, would be for the person asking the question. Whoever was asking the question, whether it be a community care worker or a social worker, they would be able to have a conversation and potentially find out something about that person that they didn’t know before. They could use this new knowledge to improve how that person was supported.
  2. The second tier would be for the service or organisation to listen to the collective feedback. It could be a nursing home listening to the residents, or the local carers centre listening to the carers. They would have the opportunity to analyse all the feedback to come back from that service and act on that information.
  3. The third tier would be for our Localities. There are six localities in North Ayrshire, each with their own Locality Planning Forum. The feedback from each locality will paint a picture of people’s views and allow them to further identify the assets and areas of improvement within the local area.
  4. The fourth tier will be the foundation of our next strategic plan. The conversations and views from everyone asked across North Ayrshire will be gathered and analysed to provide a clear picture of what matters to people in North Ayrshire. The information will ensure that our next three years of work is driven by what matters to people.

Various approaches were used on the day to allow us to capture a wide range of the population.

  • Small locality teams consisting of Locality Planning Forum members, senior managers, partnership officers and other partners were out on the streets, in the glorious Scottish rain, speaking to members of the public across North Ayrshire. We were in shopping centres, town centres, train stations, colleges, GP surgeries and town halls.
  • Our Community Connectors were asking patients and families in GP surgeries
  • Peer researchers were asking young people across North Ayrshire
  • Our Third sector were widely involved, asking people who access local projects and services on the day.
  • Our Independent sector, including care homes and care at home organisationswere having conversations with residents, the people they support and their families.
  • The local carers centre, community cafés and various community groups were involved.
  • There were boxes in libraries, where people could answer the question on a postcard and post it in the box.
  • There was a dedicated email address set up for people to email us – whatmatterstoyou@north-ayrshire.gov.uk
  • A dedicated text number, allowing people to tell us via text message
  • An online survey link which was publicised via our social media channels and local radio station
  • Each of our services were involved on the day including: mental health, social work, addictions, community care and allied health professionals amongst others
  • Colleagues from Our Voice, the Scottish Health Council and Health Improvement Scotland joined us on the day

On the 6th June, North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership had well over 2300 conversations with people who access health & social care services, carers and their families (and this number is expected to continue growing as we receive further feedback). It was incredibly moving and humbling to be part of such a meaningful piece of work. Those of us who are somewhat removed from front-line services found the day to be especially insightful. It was a real example of cross-sector working, with everyone recognising the benefits of the approach.

It was great meeting with the public, listening to their views on our wonderful NHS/Social Care services.” 

“As a member of staff who is more removed from front line care, this was a really interesting exercise to be involved in and will assist me in my senior lead officer role.”

 

We fully expect new, empowering stories of change to begin filtering through as a result of the question which was asked on the day. Our role will now be to analyse the collective feedback from across North Ayrshire and understand what people have shared with us. We hope to have a report ready within the next six weeks, which will be shared widely and inform our strategic plan. As a partnership, we will continue asking people what matters to them, recognising that it is not a one day per year action.

We are all very excited that such a high level document will be mainly influenced by what matters to our communities. There is real power in finding out what matters to people. Of course, it is a nice thing to do – asking someone ‘What matters to you?’ and it can make us feel good. But there must be action beyond the kind words. There must be an outcome to that conversation. Exit stage left What Matters to You Day (for now). Watch this space.

What matters to me about health and social care services in North Ayrshire is….

“Not having to wait so long to see a GP.”

 “Making sure that people are listened to and treated fairly, whatever the situation is.”

  “I have nothing but admiration for the services in North Ayrshire.”

 “People working in home care should have more time to spend with each person.”

 “I want to feel listened to, whoever I go and see for an appointment.”

 “Quite simply, having a good service.”

 

'We are listening - Tell us what matters to you' from Irene Barkby, Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions in NHS Lanarkshire

6 June 2017

On and around Tuesday 6 June 2017 we will be encouraging as many people as possible to have a ‘What matters to you?’ conversation with people they are supporting or caring for. You can have more than one conversation if you choose and you can keep having them beyond Tuesday 6 June too!

Staff will be:
  • Asking what matters to you
  • Listening to what matters to you
  • Doing what matters to you

‘What matters to you?’ day started in Norway in 2014 with the aim of encouraging and supporting more meaningful conversations between people who provide health and social care and the people, families and carers who receive health and social care.

This approach helps health and care providers to establish a relationship and understand the person in the context of their own life and the things that are most important to them. This insight then enables us to work with the person and their family to find the best way forward for them.

NHS Lanarkshire staff routinely ask patients and carers, “what matters to you?” The question may be asked in different ways, such as:

  • What are the things that are important to you today?
  • What would you like to achieve as a result of this support?
  • When you have a good day, what are the things that make it good?

Different things are important to people at different times; it could be:

  • that you want your family to be involved in decisions about your care
  • you may be a carer who is anxious to return home from hospital
  • you may want to keep an established routine to take your medicines in hospital like you did at home

We know from experience and evidence that the effect of focusing on what really matters to people and the things that are important to them can lead to better health and care experiences which is linked to better outcomes. This is good for the people who are supported or cared for; their family and carers, as well as the people who provide that support and care.

Whatever is important to you is important to us, so please have the conversation.

If you have an experience about NHS Lanarkshire that you would like to share please speak to a member of staff, respond on Patient Opinion, or visit the “Your Feedback” Section of the NHS Lanarkshire website to see the other ways to get in touch www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk

'What matters to you?? by Alice Wilson, Deputy Nurse Director at NHS Dumfries & Galloway, and others!

5 June 2017

“What matters to you?” day is on 6th June and you may have seen information about it around the place. We are encouraged to think about what matters to us and to have conversations with individual service users, their families and our colleagues about what matters to them, so we can use that information to improve the care and support we give to individuals and their families and promote a healthy working environment.

I thought it would be an idea to focus this blog on people who work in our health and care system and asked them to share what matters to them in and out of work and to share a few photos if they wish. I am grateful to those people who have shared what matters to them. Thank you, this blog is yours:

 

Emma Jackson, physiotherapist at Newton Stewart Hospital

In work

Up to date handovers and good communication between staff

Being able to build trusting relationships with patients by using appreciative inquiry, and having the time to get to know them as a person

Out of work

Being able to spend quality time with my family, friends and pets

Having personal goals to work towards

– Being able to get outside as often as possible – walking in long grass with my dogs is my fix

boris and finn IMG_0087

Morag McMinn, support services assistant

In work

To come into work and not get hassle.

That staff get things right, especially the care and the care of people with dementia

Out of work

My two granddaughters

Gerry McDermott, support services manager

In work

My staff feel respected and part of the whole network of the NHS

Out of work

My kids and the football (Celtic FC)

The kids are growing up fast and I want them to fulfil their dreams

CFC has fulfilled its dreams this year!

G. McDermott & KidsG. McDermott & Son

Kay Shepherd, support services supervisor

In work

Staff are happy and get on well, there is mutual respect

Staff trust me to come and speak to me

Out of work

My four kids – my weans

my wains!!

Liz Jardine, support services assistant

In work

It’s all about the patients; I enjoy talking to them and being part of the team

Being able to go to the supervisors and talk to them

Being happy in work

Out of work

My two sons and spending time with my husband as well as my wider family.

Supporting our sons to achieve in life

 

Lynsey Wharram, support services assistant

In work

Being involved with the patients, additional responsibility is a privilege, such as taking people on their last journey to the mortuary

Being part of the team, uniform colours don’t matter

Out of work

My wee brother (Murrey) and people now recognising disability more

Proper training for people about disability and dementia

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Helen McCaig, support services assistant

In work

To come to work and being happy working

Being part of making patients feel their privacy is respected

Out of work

My husband and son – we are really proud of our son who is now doing his Masters at

Cambridge University

My cat, Salem

Helping my father who has dementia

Jeannie Gallacher and Stephanie Phillips

In work

As staff working within a new project in Primary Care Mental Health Liaison, it matters to us that patients feel they can have quick access to appropriate mental health treatment.  It matters to us that we forge good working relationships with our colleagues and that the service we provide is supportive and effective.

Out of work

Jeanie –   I feel it is important to have lots of quality time with my family and it matters to me that we try to get away for family days out and holidays!

Stephanie – It’s important to me in my home life that my family are healthy.  I enjoy walking my dog every day and this matters to me.

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Pictured: Jeanie Gallacher and Stephanie Phillips, Primary Care Mental Health Liaison, Stewartry. Norma Cunningham, Community Mental Health Team Support Worker, Stewartry.

 

Norma Cunningham

In work

Firstly what matters to me is that I provide a good service to our patients.

It also matters to me that staff feel valued and encouraged to reflect and develop, and that staff receive positive feedback when there have good outcomes for patients.

Out of work

I have learned that it is not what you have in life but who you have in your life. My life is richer for having a family to love, grand children to cherish, friends you can rely on and pampered pets.

Grecy Bell, GP and Deputy Medical Director in Primary Care

 

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In work

Team work, having a shared understanding of each other’s role and common goals

teamwork-1024x682

Out of work

Having time to enjoy shared memories with family and friends

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Linda Williamson, General Manager in Women Children and Sexual Health

Linda has a pictorial creation, representing her in work and out of work “what matters to me”

Linda W

Then there’s me:

Alice Wilson, Deputy Nurse Director

In work

Being able to see the impact of my work on individuals and teams

Knowing that what I do makes a positive difference to the people we care for and their families

Being proud of my profession

Out of work

Spending time with my family and friends and living in a lovely place which feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of work. I’m part of a big family and a small community – ideal

Knowing (through whatever means necessary!) that someone will make sure I have nice shoes even when I am no longer able to walk in them!

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Pictured: the view I see every day from the front of my house…it is amazing even at the close of the day – the bike is just there to fool you into thinking that’s the only mode of transport I use!

On 6th June and every other day, take a minute to think about what matters to you and ask yourself if you know what matters to your colleagues and those people you care for and support; if not, why not ask them?

 

'What matters to you? day by Michael Kellet, Director of Fife Health and Social Care Partnership

01 June 2017

Fife Health and Social Care Partnership’s Director, Michael Kellet talks about 'What Matters to You?' day, and how it can help to improve health and social care. 

The ethos and meaning of ‘What Matters to You?’ day sits right at the heart of what health and social care is all about.  One simple question can make such a difference to the experience and support a person receives. 

Across Fife, health, social care and partners in the Third and Independent sector are getting behind this international campaign to bring home how powerful this question can be as we aim to fully involve people in the decisions that impact on them.

Now, it’s not to say many of our colleagues don’t do this already.  Many do, every day of the week, but we need to be conscious that as we juggle our daily pressures, it is a reminder that we must never lose site of the person.   Small things can make a huge difference.

What Matters to You day is an opportunity to shine a light on the great work frontline staff do every day, 365 days a week and don’t think anything of it. 

In Fife, there are many examples where asking What Matters To You has changed people’s lives:  a carer who went from just ‘surviving’ to stating ‘a light had gone on in a very dark tunnel’.  A young adult who felt he had been really listened to for the first time, an 86 year old man with dementia who’s learning to swim and re-connecting with his local community to lift him out of isolation and improve his wellbeing.

If the Partnership were a stick of rock we’d want the words ‘What Matters To You?’ to run right through it.  This is our goal as we move forward and should be the start of every conversation.  

Connecting with people and connecting with local communities is already underway as we look to change the way we work as partners and transform and improve services.   This builds on the two years of engagement with public, partners and representatives to create our three year Strategic Plan.

On the 6th June itself we have hundreds of colleagues registered to take part from ward nurses, home carers, night shift workers and receptionists.  I’m delighted we’ve seen such a great take up. Look out for stories on www.fifehealthandsocialcare.org  Fife Council and NHS Fife Facebook pages and my Twitter page Michael Kellet @FifeHSCP

Glasgow Housing Association and #WMTY17 - Gregory Hill-O`Connor, Our Voice Co-ordinator at the ALLIANCE

19 May 2017 

As a keen student of social policy, and in particular how societies look after their most vulnerable, I have always been interested in the notion of housing as the ‘wobbly pillar of the welfare state’. So when Tommy Whitelaw asked me to come along to visit the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) office in Cardonald to speak to them about What Matters To You Day I had to say yes.

What Matters To You Day is about people taking a bit of time to ask the people they are working with ‘what matters to you?’.  It seems like a simple, obvious question but it is a fiercely important one.  This initiative has been very popular in recent years among health and social care staff. However, I was delighted to hear that GHA is the first housing association to be involved in this amazing day.  And I was further delighted when I had a chance to go and visit and art group set up by residents in Cardonald.  Costing a grand total of £60, this group gave me an opportunity to see the impact of people doing things that matter to them – I even got to experience the pleasure in creating a simple piece of art!

Firstly, it has been a long time since I have received such a warm welcome.  Immediately people were talking to me about their art works – including some incredible watercolour sunsets (which I unashamedly plagiarised for my own pastel work) and a particularly intricate pen drawing of a ship in a bottle.  These conversations were interspersed by the self depreciation of two people who were new to the group, comments that were immediately shut down by the rest of group who launched into praise for the brightly coloured patterns being completed by the two novices.

The draw to a group such as this and its impact was clear.  Here was a relaxing, creative space full of mutually supportive people.  All of the people there spoke of the transformative impact of the group – many pointing towards how relaxing and calming it is.  The group is now working on a What Matters to You tree that will allow other residents to share the things that make them happy.  Hopefully this will spawn many more groups such as this that offer something simple, that people want and that matter to people.

Housing is such an important part of peoples’ lives as it is the bricks and mortar of housing that are literally the foundations of communities. Even more important then, for Housing Associations to always be asking ‘What Matters To You?’.

“It isn’t joy in work; joy IS the work” - Kate Hilton (IHI Open School), Helen Bevan (NHS England), Hans Hartung (NHS Scotland) and Marianne McPherson (IHI 100 Million Healthier Lives)

 

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10 May 2017

Kate Hilton of the IHI Open School, Helen Bevan of the NHS England, Hans Hartung of NHS Scotland, and Marianne McPherson of the IHI 100 Million Healthier Lives team describe how leaders can embrace their role as facilitators of joy in work.

Improvement guru W. Edwards Deming had a clear vision of a leader’s role: “Management’s overall aim should be to create a system in which everybody may take joy in his [or her] work.” Studies have shown that joy in work leads to:

  • higher service user satisfaction
  • better staff engagement
  • more cooperation among staff
  • higher productivity, and
  • more efficiency.

But what exactly is “joy in work,” and how can we, as leaders, elicit it? We tackled that question during a unique session at the 2016 IHI Nationanl Forum.

As we prepared for the session, we wanted to develop a shared understanding of joy from our work as leaders of large-scale change efforts. We believe joy is a lived experience, not a theoretical one. While we may possess strategies and methods for creating joy, they must pass the “sniff” test: we know when we feel “joy” — and when it is inauthentic or forced. We experience joy as a feeling of pleasure, happiness, and wellbeing that results in energy, connection, a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfilment. In other words, we all have an internal “joy calibration system.”

We took that knowledge and challenged ourselves to teach about joy with joy at the Forum, where we gathered with 20 frontline leaders of change in health care. As pre-work, we asked participants to submit “personal anthems of joy,” which played throughout the session. As participants entered the room, we welcomed, acknowledged, and thanked each one of them for their presence. We asked them questions about themselves, helped them find their seats, and introduced them to one another. We shared pictures and stories of who we are and what brings us joy. We ignited the senses in small groups around smell, touch, taste, sound, and breath. And during our break, we conducted a “Randomized Coffee Trial” to deepen authentic connections.

Our workshop’s aim was to create a Joy Manifesto that explored how we experience joy from within, together, and across a system. The following seven design principles for joy emerged from the group’s work. Central to these principles is the understanding that while joy is a lived experience at personal and interpersonal levels, creating the sustained conditions for joy is a system responsibility. These system conditions, then, lead to personal and interpersonal joy at work:

  1. Create conditions for people to identify sources of joy from within. We cannot give what we do not have. Because joy lives within, we must identify the personal practices and habits that connect us to our internal sources of joy, like journaling, being in nature, exercising, meditation, and singing. Test to Try: Notice for yourself: what makes you joyful?
  2. Encourage people to bring their whole selves to work. This is about moving from knowing what brings you joy to living it at work. How might you bring other joyful parts of your life into the workplace? Participants offered examples like writing thank-you notes to others at work, building a quiet walk into each work day, and sharing a joke, personal stories, or pictures. Test to Try: By next Tuesday, what one joyful life practice can you integrate into your work day?
  3. Create conditions for human connection. To live is to be connected to — and helpful to — each other. Human connection is an organic process that emerges whenever people meet. Workshop participants noted that connections amplify collective learning by building on one another’s strengths and recognizing weaknesses. The quality of our connections is a predictor of our happiness. Sharing stories and facilitating a social environment help to build authentic connections. Attentive listening without interruption, humble inquiry, and genuine curiosity are human ways to build empathic bridges. Test to Try: In the next week, listen to someone without interruption and with curious interest in what they want to share. How is it different?
  4. Make it safe to be joyful. Deming also said, “Drive out fear, create trust.” Trust and absence of fear are the foundation to go beyond “safe space” to “brave space” where people can try new things and be vulnerable, honest, and light-hearted together. Joy lives at the edge of taking risks and knowing that it is okay to fail forward. Ask “open and honest” questions, demonstrate acts of kindness, greet everyone within a 10-foot radius, adopt an “eyes up, hearts open” hallway culture with no smart phone use, and celebrate courage. Be nice, consistently. A culture that values recognition and respect encourages trust. Leaders have a particular responsibility to create these conditions by modelling these behaviors. Test to Try: Put away your smart phone for one day and acknowledge those around you. See what happens.
  5. Create a space for others to lead. Be authentic. Don't give power and take it away; instead, help others see and use their agency. Ignite people’s autonomy by asking them to break the rules when the rules stop serving the intended purpose. Empower people to refine and redefine measures that don’t make sense. Replace micro-management with mutuality by spending time at the front lines to speak with and listen to people. Test to Try: This week, make rounds on the floor or in the field with the intent of unleashing others’ capacity and will to solve their own problems.
  6. Build systems for joy: When we think about joy, we typically think about intrinsic motivation: connecting with people’s internal motivation, linking with their values and the things that matter to them at the deepest emotional or spiritual levels. But we can also create systems of extrinsic motivation to support joy. By this, we mean introducing levers or system drivers that encourage specific behaviors or “prod” people to engage in particular activities. Examples include:
    • Defining joy as a stated value of the organization, developing metrics around joy, making joy a deliverable to which all staff dedicate a percentage of time each month, and including joyfulness as a qualification in job descriptions
    • Creating conditions for joy to emerge, as Swedish leaders do with “FIKA,” a break with coffee and cake
    • Backing off if incentives are experienced as "compliance for joy,” making them inherently un-joyful

Test to Try: By the end of the month, explore one concrete step for your organization to take to design for joy.

  1. Create conditions for people to learn, improve, and innovate. Having fun designing joy in work, actually enjoying the process, was one of the most exciting insights from the workshop. Improvement and innovation stimulate creativity and intrinsic motivation, resulting in joy. As Deming noted, “Innovation comes from people who take joy in their work.” Co-ownership, playful improvisation, experimentation, valuing failure, the appreciating of stories behind the data, and a focus on collaboration make change come alive. Joy in improvement work results from the knowledge that any improvement contributes to the bigger picture and is connected to others’ learning. Joy builds confidence, and confidence builds intrinsic motivation for continuous learning. As Deming stated, “We are here to learn, to make a difference, and to have fun.” Test to Try: Have fun! (Really!)

All in all: It isn’t “joy in work”; joy is the work. Being an improvement leader who creates the conditions for joy means knowing it, being it, sharing it, and designing for it. For Deming, there was no doubt that the experience of joy in work was a prerequisite for any high-performing organization. Joy must be how we do business — within ourselves, together with others, and across our systems.

Sources and additional reading:

The intents and desires of the heart: turning good intentions into purposeful action - Shaun Maher, Strategic Advisor for Person Centred Care and Improvement

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20 April 2017

As health and social care professionals we are in an especially privileged position often spending time with people at some of the most momentous or traumatic times in their lives. A new life entering the world; facing up to serious illness; recovering from an injury or perhaps the loss of a cherished parent? These are the most memorable, meaningful and often challenging times in people’s lives and in our daily work we have the opportunity to support people, to encourage them and walk alongside them.

Yet all too often in the hustle and bustle of a busy day we forget about this unique privilege – the honour of being a visitor in someone’s life story. Not taking the time to find out what really matters to them; a hasty response or a word spoken a little more harshly than it should have been. These lapses pass quickly form our memory in the bustle of the day, but what about the person? Do they forget so readily? The daughter seeking information about her Mum at a time of crisis? The young Dad (or Dad to be) that just wants to be as close as he can to the most precious things in his life? Do they forget so readily? A careless response by us becomes an experience, even a trauma, carried by that person for the rest of their life.

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

So, how do we make sure that we stay connected to the deeper meaning and purpose in our work? How do we make sure that we always have to the opportunity to focus on what really matters to the person in front of us?  How do we create processes and systems that recognise the value human connection and provide reliable opportunities to and reminders to help us in this endeavour? How do we improve?

Often we set out with good intentions: “I promise to….” I will always…”  But what do these good intentions look like in action? Even with the best will in the world, do they always happen? I think if we reflect on our own experience we realise that despite our best intentions we are at best patchy – the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!

Transforming good intentions into actions and making these behaviours part of our daily routine is probably the single biggest challenge. The reality for most of us is that the scale, pace and technicality of the modern world, and especially the health and care system, means that we can’t take it for granted that we will always remember to do the right thing, to say the right thing and treat people as they should be treated. We need prompts and reminders to help us. We need to design a more person-centred system to support the growth of a truly person-centred culture.

Purpose, Measures, Method

To turn our good intentions into reality we need to start by focusing on purpose. Once we are clear about our purpose or aim at work we can then start to think about the question: “have I achieved the aim that I set out to achieve?” To get answer to this question we need to measure something – DON’T stop reading just because I said measures!!

By starting with purpose measurement is made much easier and much more meaningful. In this context measurement can be as simple as observing (or reflecting on) whether the thing you wanted to do actually occured? Keep a tally or watch what goes on around you for 5 minutes. For example: “did I always ask every person about the things that are really important to them at this time?” Yes or No? If not, why not? And what could I do to remind myself to do it?

Your chances of success are much increased if alongside purpose and measures you have an improvement method. There are lots of methods out there – pick one and stick with it! We have widely used the Model for Improvement (MfI) in Scotland and I think it is probably one of the simplest and most adaptable methods out there. It starts with three simple questions:

  1. What’s the thing you want to improve? (your aim: how good do you want to be? and by when?)
  2. How will I know I’ve improved? (what are you going to measure?)
  3. What’s the first step towards making this happen? (your ideas about things you could try to make this improvement happen)

Once you’ve answered these three questions the second part of the MfI is to move to action – using a simple framework called the Plan. Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle. This structure can help you test your idea in a very small way to see if it works. Try it with one person on one day. Tweak it and try it again. Try it with two people, and so on. Once you’ve run a few tests you’ll be amazed at what you learn AND most importantly – your good intentions are turning into actions!

So, let’s maintain that strong sense of purpose, but don’t stop there. Think about what your good intention would look like in practice and then measure whether it actually happens. Being fallible human beings we inevitably realise we’re not quite as good as we’d like to think we are – there’s always room for improvement!

Then move to the final step and think about the thing you can do to make yourself more reliable – focusing on what matters for every person, every time. A prompt in the notes, a personal “what matters to you?” board above every bed in a hospital, a reliable framework, such as Talking Points, to help you understand what matters most to the person in front of you.

Take good care of yourself!

This isn’t just about you changing the world. There are all sorts of other things that need to change in the wider system around us, but these things are outside the sphere of influence for most of us. In light of this reality we need to maintain good self-care and set our sights on the long view as we work on our small wins each day. Sometimes we will have set-backs and this type of work can feel difficult and challenging in the prevailing climate and culture. But don’t lose heart! The overall momentum is in the right direction. Maintain your strong sense of purpose, think about how you will measure your progress and then move to action.

It’s also important to find some like-minded folks so you can support and encourage one another. Start small and begin by designing some prompts and processes into your daily routine that will support you to turn the desires of your heart into your daily reality.

 

 

Why communication key - Claire Chue Hong, Disabled Peoples Housing Service Fife (DPHS

roses

16 March 2017

With spring in the air and thoughts now starting to stray towards the long summer nights and been able to stray from the cosy fireside to the garden and planting new seeds, though this is Scotland so with the recommend wellies and waterproofs in tow. I can’t help but wonder if I’m choosing the right seeds to sow, should I start from scratch with the seeds or should I just go to the shop and buy any plants I can find? Who do I go to for information and advice, as a total novice at gardening there is more chance of me going to the local bakers and asking for gardening sheers than going to the local garden centre? Why does this even matter I hear you ask, well for service users this is very much the point, they need to have someone who they can have a good quality conversation with to help them understand the very detailed process of accessing social care.

We are a disabled people’s organisation in Fife who are offering this service, with the approach very much centred on the person and their families/carers and helping them to understand self-directed support (SDS). This gives them the confidence that when they see a social worker for an SDS assessment they know what they are talking about, what to highlight and what to expect. Very much like myself I have the seeds and the knowledge and now the confidence to sow them.

An example of this was I was working with a lady who had a risk of falls and has dementia but wants to stay in her own home. I met with her and her daughter to have a conversation to find out what she wanted in terms of help, what her needs were and how she wanted to receive her support, this meant her daughter was able to liaise with social work to get in the care she needs because she had the confidence to put across her mum's choices over her support. This really shows the value of what a small thing like having a good quality conversation can have on individuals and asking them what they want and what matters to them. 

However, what happens when you bought the wrong seeds, you have a hole in your wellie and it just seems to be constantly pouring with rain, we are in Scotland after all. There is still hope of that seed coming through the surface with the right support and May does seem to be the month of sun breaking through those dreary days and flowers coming into bloom.

Another service we provide is assisting people at meetings with social work where communication has broken down. A person who I supported on such an issue is bedbound and receives 3 hours support a day in the evening but needs more help. Unfortunately communication had completely broken down between her and her social worker so she was reluctant to see her social worker again. I went to visit her to have a conversation to find out more about what help she needed, what her personal assistants were doing when they came out, what extra help would benefit her and how much time she needed to do different personal care tasks.

From this visit I then arranged a joint visit with social work to support her to communicate with her social worker. Both were firm about their views which made it hard for each to understand where the other was coming from. Previous requests for extra support were turned down but we managed to agree that if her PA kept a record of how long it took to do each of the tasks during their 3 hour visit for 4 weeks. If all the time was taken up on personal care tasks only then would her social worker have evidence to take to her manager to request extra hours so that a visit earlier could happen for someone to come and help her with lunch and any personal care tasks needed. Without my involvement it is unlikely that things would have moved forward.

Thinking of different ways to evidence the need for care and having good conversations makes all the difference. Also having someone to explain that the social worker is hearing how bad things are but that they can't make a case for extra care without evidence to prove it's needed, that decisions are made higher up and funding is stretched. Communication is key and it has to be in a way that the person you're working with understands so re-wording jargon and explaining things in a different way makes a huge difference.

Very much like my gardening skills if they are encouraged, given the right support and confidence and the opportunity to flourish the outcome can be a garden full of roses.

For further information on Disabled Peoples Housing Service (Fife) Self Directed Support Options Project please get in touch via the below methods.

Website – www.sdsoptionsfife.org.uk

Telephone – 01592 803 280

Twitter - @SDSOptions

Email – enquiries.sds@dphsfife.org.uk

'What matters?' - Shaun Maher, Strategic Advisor for Person Centred Care and Improvement

Focus-on-what-matters

15 February 2017

It might seem strange to some people that we have to remind people working in health and social care to focus on what really matters to the people they are supporting or caring for. If they aren’t focused on the things that really matter to the person they are speaking to, you might ask, what are they focused on?  That’s a good question.

Health and social care services have developed in the modern era from a time, less than a hundred years ago, when there was little or no state support for anyone.  In those times the only support, care or treatment that was provided was based either on your ability to pay or the good hearted generosity of charitable organisations and individuals.  Over the last 100 years or so, state-funded health and social care services have gradually developed into what we see around us in Scotland today.

These services have their origins in a time when “doctor knew best” and things were done “to you” without too much recourse to your personal preferences or inherent strengths or capabilities. This paternalistic “we know best” culture has survived down to the present day and means that often decisions are still made on the basis of what someone else thinks is best for you, without very much knowledge about you as a person and what makes you tick.  Of course the health and social care system today is focused on people, but is it truly focused on what matters to those people? I would argue that the perspective is still predominantly one which is all about doing things “to” people or “for” people.  This way of thinking can only get us so far.  The signs around us indicate that we need to do something different for the 21st century.

So, when we talk about “what matters to you?” or person-centred care, we aren’t just talking about being nice to people, important though that is. Neither are we are implying that the current activity of the health and social care system isn’t focused on people; it very much is. But the current perspective is still too much in the “we know what’s best for you” mode of thinking.  Not enough attention is paid to the personal preferences and values of the people we serve, the inherent strengths and capabilities that every person has, and the relationships (or lack of) that surround them in their life. This is what we mean when we talk about “what matters to you?” and person-centred care.

The impact of this shift in perspective has the potential to be very significant in helping us to develop health and social care (and other areas of public service) in new and creative directions, but the scale of the task should not be underestimated.  This different way of interacting with people and understanding what truly matters to them in the context of their life, requires new skills, new and creative ways to measure, a much stronger focus on people and relationships and new ways of working.  This is a generational shift and it will perhaps feel challenging and uncomfortable at times, but these feelings of difficulty and discomfort are a good sign and indicate that we are moving out of our comfort zone into new ways of doing things. We need to lean in to the discomfort!

The Scottish Government has a dedicated Person-centred and Quality team.  This team supports “What matters to you?” day along with a range of other work that is underway with health and social care services, the charitable sector and other partners across Scotland. Our aim is to support and develop new ways of thinking about and delivering truly person-centred care and support for those who need it.

We hope that you will be excited by the opportunity to think and work in a way which feels much more meaningful and is strongly focused on people and relationships and the things that really matter.  “What matters to you?” day 2017 will be a wonderful opportunity to join in with thousands of people around the world who, together, are working and learning how to create a health and  system that starts with a “what matters to you? conversation for every person, every time.

Glasgow Housing Association and #WMTY17 - Gregory Hill-O`Connor, Our Voice Co-ordinator at the ALLIANCE

19 May 2017 

As a keen student of social policy, and in particular how societies look after their most vulnerable, I have always been interested in the notion of housing as the ‘wobbly pillar of the welfare state’. So when Tommy Whitelaw asked me to come along to visit the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) office in Cardonald to speak to them about What Matters To You Day I had to say yes.

What Matters To You Day is about people taking a bit of time to ask the people they are working with ‘what matters to you?’.  It seems like a simple, obvious question but it is a fiercely important one.  This initiative has been very popular in recent years among health and social care staff. However, I was delighted to hear that GHA is the first housing association to be involved in this amazing day.  And I was further delighted when I had a chance to go and visit and art group set up by residents in Cardonald.  Costing a grand total of £60, this group gave me an opportunity to see the impact of people doing things that matter to them – I even got to experience the pleasure in creating a simple piece of art!

Firstly, it has been a long time since I have received such a warm welcome.  Immediately people were talking to me about their art works – including some incredible watercolour sunsets (which I unashamedly plagiarised for my own pastel work) and a particularly intricate pen drawing of a ship in a bottle.  These conversations were interspersed by the self depreciation of two people who were new to the group, comments that were immediately shut down by the rest of group who launched into praise for the brightly coloured patterns being completed by the two novices.

The draw to a group such as this and its impact was clear.  Here was a relaxing, creative space full of mutually supportive people.  All of the people there spoke of the transformative impact of the group – many pointing towards how relaxing and calming it is.  The group is now working on a What Matters to You tree that will allow other residents to share the things that make them happy.  Hopefully this will spawn many more groups such as this that offer something simple, that people want and that matter to people.

Housing is such an important part of peoples’ lives as it is the bricks and mortar of housing that are literally the foundations of communities. Even more important then, for Housing Associations to always be asking ‘What Matters To You?’.

“It isn’t joy in work; joy IS the work” - Kate Hilton (IHI Open School), Helen Bevan (NHS England), Hans Hartung (NHS Scotland) and Marianne McPherson (IHI 100 Million Healthier Lives)

 

love-my-job
10 May 2017

Kate Hilton of the IHI Open School, Helen Bevan of the NHS England, Hans Hartung of NHS Scotland, and Marianne McPherson of the IHI 100 Million Healthier Lives team describe how leaders can embrace their role as facilitators of joy in work.

Improvement guru W. Edwards Deming had a clear vision of a leader’s role: “Management’s overall aim should be to create a system in which everybody may take joy in his [or her] work.” Studies have shown that joy in work leads to:

  • higher service user satisfaction
  • better staff engagement
  • more cooperation among staff
  • higher productivity, and
  • more efficiency.

But what exactly is “joy in work,” and how can we, as leaders, elicit it? We tackled that question during a unique session at the 2016 IHI Nationanl Forum.

As we prepared for the session, we wanted to develop a shared understanding of joy from our work as leaders of large-scale change efforts. We believe joy is a lived experience, not a theoretical one. While we may possess strategies and methods for creating joy, they must pass the “sniff” test: we know when we feel “joy” — and when it is inauthentic or forced. We experience joy as a feeling of pleasure, happiness, and wellbeing that results in energy, connection, a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfilment. In other words, we all have an internal “joy calibration system.”

We took that knowledge and challenged ourselves to teach about joy with joy at the Forum, where we gathered with 20 frontline leaders of change in health care. As pre-work, we asked participants to submit “personal anthems of joy,” which played throughout the session. As participants entered the room, we welcomed, acknowledged, and thanked each one of them for their presence. We asked them questions about themselves, helped them find their seats, and introduced them to one another. We shared pictures and stories of who we are and what brings us joy. We ignited the senses in small groups around smell, touch, taste, sound, and breath. And during our break, we conducted a “Randomized Coffee Trial” to deepen authentic connections.

Our workshop’s aim was to create a Joy Manifesto that explored how we experience joy from within, together, and across a system. The following seven design principles for joy emerged from the group’s work. Central to these principles is the understanding that while joy is a lived experience at personal and interpersonal levels, creating the sustained conditions for joy is a system responsibility. These system conditions, then, lead to personal and interpersonal joy at work:

  1. Create conditions for people to identify sources of joy from within. We cannot give what we do not have. Because joy lives within, we must identify the personal practices and habits that connect us to our internal sources of joy, like journaling, being in nature, exercising, meditation, and singing. Test to Try: Notice for yourself: what makes you joyful?
  2. Encourage people to bring their whole selves to work. This is about moving from knowing what brings you joy to living it at work. How might you bring other joyful parts of your life into the workplace? Participants offered examples like writing thank-you notes to others at work, building a quiet walk into each work day, and sharing a joke, personal stories, or pictures. Test to Try: By next Tuesday, what one joyful life practice can you integrate into your work day?
  3. Create conditions for human connection. To live is to be connected to — and helpful to — each other. Human connection is an organic process that emerges whenever people meet. Workshop participants noted that connections amplify collective learning by building on one another’s strengths and recognizing weaknesses. The quality of our connections is a predictor of our happiness. Sharing stories and facilitating a social environment help to build authentic connections. Attentive listening without interruption, humble inquiry, and genuine curiosity are human ways to build empathic bridges. Test to Try: In the next week, listen to someone without interruption and with curious interest in what they want to share. How is it different?
  4. Make it safe to be joyful. Deming also said, “Drive out fear, create trust.” Trust and absence of fear are the foundation to go beyond “safe space” to “brave space” where people can try new things and be vulnerable, honest, and light-hearted together. Joy lives at the edge of taking risks and knowing that it is okay to fail forward. Ask “open and honest” questions, demonstrate acts of kindness, greet everyone within a 10-foot radius, adopt an “eyes up, hearts open” hallway culture with no smart phone use, and celebrate courage. Be nice, consistently. A culture that values recognition and respect encourages trust. Leaders have a particular responsibility to create these conditions by modelling these behaviors. Test to Try: Put away your smart phone for one day and acknowledge those around you. See what happens.
  5. Create a space for others to lead. Be authentic. Don't give power and take it away; instead, help others see and use their agency. Ignite people’s autonomy by asking them to break the rules when the rules stop serving the intended purpose. Empower people to refine and redefine measures that don’t make sense. Replace micro-management with mutuality by spending time at the front lines to speak with and listen to people. Test to Try: This week, make rounds on the floor or in the field with the intent of unleashing others’ capacity and will to solve their own problems.
  6. Build systems for joy: When we think about joy, we typically think about intrinsic motivation: connecting with people’s internal motivation, linking with their values and the things that matter to them at the deepest emotional or spiritual levels. But we can also create systems of extrinsic motivation to support joy. By this, we mean introducing levers or system drivers that encourage specific behaviors or “prod” people to engage in particular activities. Examples include:
    • Defining joy as a stated value of the organization, developing metrics around joy, making joy a deliverable to which all staff dedicate a percentage of time each month, and including joyfulness as a qualification in job descriptions
    • Creating conditions for joy to emerge, as Swedish leaders do with “FIKA,” a break with coffee and cake
    • Backing off if incentives are experienced as "compliance for joy,” making them inherently un-joyful

Test to Try: By the end of the month, explore one concrete step for your organization to take to design for joy.

  1. Create conditions for people to learn, improve, and innovate. Having fun designing joy in work, actually enjoying the process, was one of the most exciting insights from the workshop. Improvement and innovation stimulate creativity and intrinsic motivation, resulting in joy. As Deming noted, “Innovation comes from people who take joy in their work.” Co-ownership, playful improvisation, experimentation, valuing failure, the appreciating of stories behind the data, and a focus on collaboration make change come alive. Joy in improvement work results from the knowledge that any improvement contributes to the bigger picture and is connected to others’ learning. Joy builds confidence, and confidence builds intrinsic motivation for continuous learning. As Deming stated, “We are here to learn, to make a difference, and to have fun.” Test to Try: Have fun! (Really!)

All in all: It isn’t “joy in work”; joy is the work. Being an improvement leader who creates the conditions for joy means knowing it, being it, sharing it, and designing for it. For Deming, there was no doubt that the experience of joy in work was a prerequisite for any high-performing organization. Joy must be how we do business — within ourselves, together with others, and across our systems.

Sources and additional reading:

The intents and desires of the heart: turning good intentions into purposeful action - Shaun Maher, Strategic Advisor for Person Centred Care and Improvement

Image result for start small

20 April 2017

As health and social care professionals we are in an especially privileged position often spending time with people at some of the most momentous or traumatic times in their lives. A new life entering the world; facing up to serious illness; recovering from an injury or perhaps the loss of a cherished parent? These are the most memorable, meaningful and often challenging times in people’s lives and in our daily work we have the opportunity to support people, to encourage them and walk alongside them.

Yet all too often in the hustle and bustle of a busy day we forget about this unique privilege – the honour of being a visitor in someone’s life story. Not taking the time to find out what really matters to them; a hasty response or a word spoken a little more harshly than it should have been. These lapses pass quickly form our memory in the bustle of the day, but what about the person? Do they forget so readily? The daughter seeking information about her Mum at a time of crisis? The young Dad (or Dad to be) that just wants to be as close as he can to the most precious things in his life? Do they forget so readily? A careless response by us becomes an experience, even a trauma, carried by that person for the rest of their life.

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

So, how do we make sure that we stay connected to the deeper meaning and purpose in our work? How do we make sure that we always have to the opportunity to focus on what really matters to the person in front of us?  How do we create processes and systems that recognise the value human connection and provide reliable opportunities to and reminders to help us in this endeavour? How do we improve?

Often we set out with good intentions: “I promise to….” I will always…”  But what do these good intentions look like in action? Even with the best will in the world, do they always happen? I think if we reflect on our own experience we realise that despite our best intentions we are at best patchy – the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!

Transforming good intentions into actions and making these behaviours part of our daily routine is probably the single biggest challenge. The reality for most of us is that the scale, pace and technicality of the modern world, and especially the health and care system, means that we can’t take it for granted that we will always remember to do the right thing, to say the right thing and treat people as they should be treated. We need prompts and reminders to help us. We need to design a more person-centred system to support the growth of a truly person-centred culture.

Purpose, Measures, Method

To turn our good intentions into reality we need to start by focusing on purpose. Once we are clear about our purpose or aim at work we can then start to think about the question: “have I achieved the aim that I set out to achieve?” To get answer to this question we need to measure something – DON’T stop reading just because I said measures!!

By starting with purpose measurement is made much easier and much more meaningful. In this context measurement can be as simple as observing (or reflecting on) whether the thing you wanted to do actually occured? Keep a tally or watch what goes on around you for 5 minutes. For example: “did I always ask every person about the things that are really important to them at this time?” Yes or No? If not, why not? And what could I do to remind myself to do it?

Your chances of success are much increased if alongside purpose and measures you have an improvement method. There are lots of methods out there – pick one and stick with it! We have widely used the Model for Improvement (MfI) in Scotland and I think it is probably one of the simplest and most adaptable methods out there. It starts with three simple questions:

  1. What’s the thing you want to improve? (your aim: how good do you want to be? and by when?)
  2. How will I know I’ve improved? (what are you going to measure?)
  3. What’s the first step towards making this happen? (your ideas about things you could try to make this improvement happen)

Once you’ve answered these three questions the second part of the MfI is to move to action – using a simple framework called the Plan. Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle. This structure can help you test your idea in a very small way to see if it works. Try it with one person on one day. Tweak it and try it again. Try it with two people, and so on. Once you’ve run a few tests you’ll be amazed at what you learn AND most importantly – your good intentions are turning into actions!

So, let’s maintain that strong sense of purpose, but don’t stop there. Think about what your good intention would look like in practice and then measure whether it actually happens. Being fallible human beings we inevitably realise we’re not quite as good as we’d like to think we are – there’s always room for improvement!

Then move to the final step and think about the thing you can do to make yourself more reliable – focusing on what matters for every person, every time. A prompt in the notes, a personal “what matters to you?” board above every bed in a hospital, a reliable framework, such as Talking Points, to help you understand what matters most to the person in front of you.

Take good care of yourself!

This isn’t just about you changing the world. There are all sorts of other things that need to change in the wider system around us, but these things are outside the sphere of influence for most of us. In light of this reality we need to maintain good self-care and set our sights on the long view as we work on our small wins each day. Sometimes we will have set-backs and this type of work can feel difficult and challenging in the prevailing climate and culture. But don’t lose heart! The overall momentum is in the right direction. Maintain your strong sense of purpose, think about how you will measure your progress and then move to action.

It’s also important to find some like-minded folks so you can support and encourage one another. Start small and begin by designing some prompts and processes into your daily routine that will support you to turn the desires of your heart into your daily reality.

 

 

Why communication key - Claire Chue Hong, Disabled Peoples Housing Service Fife (DPHS

roses

16 March 2017

With spring in the air and thoughts now starting to stray towards the long summer nights and been able to stray from the cosy fireside to the garden and planting new seeds, though this is Scotland so with the recommend wellies and waterproofs in tow. I can’t help but wonder if I’m choosing the right seeds to sow, should I start from scratch with the seeds or should I just go to the shop and buy any plants I can find? Who do I go to for information and advice, as a total novice at gardening there is more chance of me going to the local bakers and asking for gardening sheers than going to the local garden centre? Why does this even matter I hear you ask, well for service users this is very much the point, they need to have someone who they can have a good quality conversation with to help them understand the very detailed process of accessing social care.

We are a disabled people’s organisation in Fife who are offering this service, with the approach very much centred on the person and their families/carers and helping them to understand self-directed support (SDS). This gives them the confidence that when they see a social worker for an SDS assessment they know what they are talking about, what to highlight and what to expect. Very much like myself I have the seeds and the knowledge and now the confidence to sow them.

An example of this was I was working with a lady who had a risk of falls and has dementia but wants to stay in her own home. I met with her and her daughter to have a conversation to find out what she wanted in terms of help, what her needs were and how she wanted to receive her support, this meant her daughter was able to liaise with social work to get in the care she needs because she had the confidence to put across her mum's choices over her support. This really shows the value of what a small thing like having a good quality conversation can have on individuals and asking them what they want and what matters to them. 

However, what happens when you bought the wrong seeds, you have a hole in your wellie and it just seems to be constantly pouring with rain, we are in Scotland after all. There is still hope of that seed coming through the surface with the right support and May does seem to be the month of sun breaking through those dreary days and flowers coming into bloom.

Another service we provide is assisting people at meetings with social work where communication has broken down. A person who I supported on such an issue is bedbound and receives 3 hours support a day in the evening but needs more help. Unfortunately communication had completely broken down between her and her social worker so she was reluctant to see her social worker again. I went to visit her to have a conversation to find out more about what help she needed, what her personal assistants were doing when they came out, what extra help would benefit her and how much time she needed to do different personal care tasks.

From this visit I then arranged a joint visit with social work to support her to communicate with her social worker. Both were firm about their views which made it hard for each to understand where the other was coming from. Previous requests for extra support were turned down but we managed to agree that if her PA kept a record of how long it took to do each of the tasks during their 3 hour visit for 4 weeks. If all the time was taken up on personal care tasks only then would her social worker have evidence to take to her manager to request extra hours so that a visit earlier could happen for someone to come and help her with lunch and any personal care tasks needed. Without my involvement it is unlikely that things would have moved forward.

Thinking of different ways to evidence the need for care and having good conversations makes all the difference. Also having someone to explain that the social worker is hearing how bad things are but that they can't make a case for extra care without evidence to prove it's needed, that decisions are made higher up and funding is stretched. Communication is key and it has to be in a way that the person you're working with understands so re-wording jargon and explaining things in a different way makes a huge difference.

Very much like my gardening skills if they are encouraged, given the right support and confidence and the opportunity to flourish the outcome can be a garden full of roses.

For further information on Disabled Peoples Housing Service (Fife) Self Directed Support Options Project please get in touch via the below methods.

Website – www.sdsoptionsfife.org.uk

Telephone – 01592 803 280

Twitter - @SDSOptions

Email – enquiries.sds@dphsfife.org.uk

'What matters?' - Shaun Maher, Strategic Advisor for Person Centred Care and Improvement

Focus-on-what-matters

15 February 2017

It might seem strange to some people that we have to remind people working in health and social care to focus on what really matters to the people they are supporting or caring for. If they aren’t focused on the things that really matter to the person they are speaking to, you might ask, what are they focused on?  That’s a good question.

Health and social care services have developed in the modern era from a time, less than a hundred years ago, when there was little or no state support for anyone.  In those times the only support, care or treatment that was provided was based either on your ability to pay or the good hearted generosity of charitable organisations and individuals.  Over the last 100 years or so, state-funded health and social care services have gradually developed into what we see around us in Scotland today.

These services have their origins in a time when “doctor knew best” and things were done “to you” without too much recourse to your personal preferences or inherent strengths or capabilities. This paternalistic “we know best” culture has survived down to the present day and means that often decisions are still made on the basis of what someone else thinks is best for you, without very much knowledge about you as a person and what makes you tick.  Of course the health and social care system today is focused on people, but is it truly focused on what matters to those people? I would argue that the perspective is still predominantly one which is all about doing things “to” people or “for” people.  This way of thinking can only get us so far.  The signs around us indicate that we need to do something different for the 21st century.

So, when we talk about “what matters to you?” or person-centred care, we aren’t just talking about being nice to people, important though that is. Neither are we are implying that the current activity of the health and social care system isn’t focused on people; it very much is. But the current perspective is still too much in the “we know what’s best for you” mode of thinking.  Not enough attention is paid to the personal preferences and values of the people we serve, the inherent strengths and capabilities that every person has, and the relationships (or lack of) that surround them in their life. This is what we mean when we talk about “what matters to you?” and person-centred care.

The impact of this shift in perspective has the potential to be very significant in helping us to develop health and social care (and other areas of public service) in new and creative directions, but the scale of the task should not be underestimated.  This different way of interacting with people and understanding what truly matters to them in the context of their life, requires new skills, new and creative ways to measure, a much stronger focus on people and relationships and new ways of working.  This is a generational shift and it will perhaps feel challenging and uncomfortable at times, but these feelings of difficulty and discomfort are a good sign and indicate that we are moving out of our comfort zone into new ways of doing things. We need to lean in to the discomfort!

The Scottish Government has a dedicated Person-centred and Quality team.  This team supports “What matters to you?” day along with a range of other work that is underway with health and social care services, the charitable sector and other partners across Scotland. Our aim is to support and develop new ways of thinking about and delivering truly person-centred care and support for those who need it.

We hope that you will be excited by the opportunity to think and work in a way which feels much more meaningful and is strongly focused on people and relationships and the things that really matter.  “What matters to you?” day 2017 will be a wonderful opportunity to join in with thousands of people around the world who, together, are working and learning how to create a health and  system that starts with a “what matters to you? conversation for every person, every time.