It's been a fascinating few weeks, steeped in developing principles for person centred care. The process brought together people working in health and social care in all sectors and those with lived experience of services too. I found myself wondering which I was....what side of the fence? The healthcare professionals were familiar; a warm and a recognisable part of my past. The third sector is definitely part of my tribe now:I'm proud of the innovation, the flexibility, the person centredness at its heart. But I recognised where I felt I really belonged was with those with the lived experience for this work. The words expressed went to my heart and its absolutely that, that fuels my passion for the work.
My name badge just had my name on it. Just me. Part of every tribe and none. I admit there is liberation in that. Feeling able to see all parts and advocate for all in the system is part of what I can offer. The symbol we developed for person centredness does not have a unique collection of words, they have all been expressed before but they are the ones we connected with. They are all of our words and they tell the story for all, not just those with lived experience of care but all of those in the unique relationship of enabling wellbeing, for themselves, with others. And there is a sacredness in that relationship. From the trust between the surgeon and patient to the carer of the person with dementia who together find how to reach out and connect through the dense fog of the condition.
The strongest message that has gone to my heart is that for this to thrive we need compassion, trust and respect for all in the system. And that's not what I hear about in so many places. A system perfectly designed to not enable person centredness is the risk. My fear is that this won’t change if it looks like the only thing we care about in health care is waiting times. Hardly a day passes when our news channels don't resonate with talk about waiting times, leaving a system at risk of distortion. Yes if I need a simple orthopaedic procedure I'm happy to go where necessary to have it done. But if it’s about a longer term relationship, frankly I would rather wait for the person I know, the person I trust. Yes , even if it’s for cancer treatment. Let's not pretend all waiting is equal, let's allow a flexibility that instead offers safe and relationship based care. Make the headlines about the real concerns for health and social care in the future. All of us need compassion, trust and empathy an everyday reality in health and social care. Let's campaign for that-for all in that sacred relationship. They all deserve better and we all have a part to play in that.
Reasons to be heartful.
The commitment that I have seen in the last few weeks to make person centred health and care a reality has been inspiring. Let's keep the inspiration flowing. And there is a burgeoning romance in this household. Cara is smitten by Buster the chocolate lab who lives around the corner. It seems mutual (if not exactly exclusive- but hey!) so happy days all round. Kissing Cara is her new name and their antics guarantee a smile!