Presentation of concepts – fleshing out and refining
In the intervening two weeks the students and their practitioner counter-parts have been refining their ideas, better understanding how they might be implemented, and testing out the viability of their concepts in the south side of Glasgow.
Monday was the student’s last opportunity to present formally to both people who use services and practitioners and to get relevant feedback on the concepts that respond to the project themes. This took place at the Dixon Community Centre on Cathcart Road to make it more likely that older people and their carers could share their thoughts, ideas and perspectives on the concepts. We also changed the timings of the presentation from a full day to an afternoon as we received feedback that it can be difficult for practitioners to negotiate Monday morning sessions.
On the day 5 practitioners and 23 older people/carers were able to attend. Although the change of venue was aimed to integrate and include older people and carers views we learned very quickly that the formal presentation format we have been using each week wasn’t working in the hall due to the acoustics in the venue. In order to remedy this, we changed the format asking the students at very short notice to present (in rotation) to small groups of people who had attended. Although the noise level was still difficult to control, people were able to converse and hear better which afforded the students constructive feedback from those in each of the groups.
The anticipatory care team have taken a different view of ‘anticipatory care’ and have defined the difference between ‘prevent’ and ‘anticipate’. Their idea takes a very broad view of anticipation that focuses on increasing awareness of ‘older life’ in younger and middle aged people.
Essentially, the approach is an inter-generational one, which aims to innovate policy as well as make practical changes on the ground in the local context. The crux of the idea is using schools as a place for meeting and introducing the topic of older life, to break down preconceived judgments and allowing young and older people to begin to associate one with another. This would be implemented through the Curriculum for Excellence and carried on into high school and university – with the range of activities being undertaken changing to suit ages and interests.
The idea is to create a partnership between schools and elderly community centres/projects, as a starting point to build values of respect and empathy in the community, as well as awareness of different health related issues.
The students have effectively linked their idea in to current policy areas including curriculum for excellence, prevention, education and community development. In addition, the idea also links in to what currently exists locally and seeks to complement it by making enhancements.
Partnership working and communication
This team has been working on their location based ‘hub’ idea which received positive feedback from the last session.
The hub idea is centred around the idea of peer to peer learning and support, based on the idea that people are experts in their own lives and that the collective knowledge of a community is a large untapped resource. Based within the hub is the ‘service expert’. This individual would be someone who acts as a first point of contact into the system – representing both health and social care. They are able to fulfill a number of different roles including making appointments, helping individuals to complete forms and also giving general advice and guidance.
However the key to the hub idea is that it is first and foremost it is an important part of the community providing services such as a post office, toilet facilities, pharmacy etc (a place to go for pensions, benefits and prescriptions). Its secondary role is as a base for well-being services and contact with the service expert.
The team has developed a manifesto and physical model to showcase their idea and are in the process of developing a business plan to accompany it – based on a social enterprise model.
This team has come a long way since the last presentation – really beginning to drill down into the type of isolation that older people might experience.
Much of the teams thinking is based on their knowledge of different cultures as well as looking at historically how people used to have a sense of community cohesiveness and interest in one another. As such, the challenge for this group is to devise something that is implicit in its approach i.e. it doesn’t explicitly try to integrate people more into the community or activities, but rather, softly approaches the idea of linking people into areas of interest.
The idea being developed in this group is around the role of a community champion. The community champion would be someone who acts like a neighbour by looking out for older people in the community as well as informing the older people about different activities that are going on. The idea being developed was about this specific role, but also complementary tools that the individual would be able to use within that role.
For instance, the team had considered developing a database (that would be owned by the community) that would list the different resources, services and activities that were ongoing in the community. This could be used by the community champion (and others) as a signposting tool. This idea was really positively received by the group of older people and their carers – many of them commenting that it would be very useful to have access to a one-stop-shop of information about whats on in the local area. The focus group also gave the students a chance to talk to some real-life community connectors (!) and to focus their attention on the types of information they supply, how they get access to it, and how they transmit it to others.
The group still has to make some decisions about whether or not this role is volunteer based, or is paid for. Also, they are going to consider the type of skills, knowledge and aptitudes that the ideal community champion should possess.
The reablement group had various different concepts that they represented two weeks ago and since then have narrowed these down to focus upon the idea of a reablement buddy. After looking at Edinburgh City Council’s review of reablement services as a basis for their ideas they are aiming to share the experience of someone who has been through a service with someone who is about to enter a service; similar to ideas on the ALISS project and the Me2 concept from RED ‘s Diabetes project). However this group are still working out how this might work out in the South side of Glasgow – would it be a volunteer service? How would people be checked to make sure they wanted to support someone else rather than talk about their own experience?
Interestingly the debate in this group between practitioners and cares was interesting. Practitioners wanted to make sure the buddies would have all the information and knowledge they needed to support a person, however the carers view was that a personal experience can be enough, and as well as learning from another experience of a service and navigating through it, it may possibly not not be as intimidating as a professional contact. Two different interpretations of who who is the ‘expert’ and how these perspectives could work together to better support someone.
One of the key points made by carers in this group was people ability to get to services or to other people as transportation can be difficult whilst in the process of enabling oneself.
Overall, the feedback was positive for each of the concepts. Where views differed the conversation constructively contextualised the ideas to the South side of Glasgow, current experiences of services or how services are provided.
The teams have come a long way in terms of their understanding and vision, which really must be commended, given the tight time frame, new social and health sector learning as well as contextualising this within Glasgow. What is left now is to drill down into the ideas with specifics about how these concepts could be taken forward in practice – some of the teams are already underway with this task.
What I like is that the ideas build on one another and are complementary with the teams referencing ideas from other teams within their own concepts. Hopefully, this will mean that a comprehensive picture can be created for Glasgow south. Very much looking forward to seeing what comes next.
In terms of our reflections about the project, there are definitely things that we might have done differently with the benefit of hindsight. A future blog to come on this, detailing the benefits and challenges of undertaking a project such as this with some insights as to what the lessons IRISS have learned as facilitators.
We’d just like to extend an extra thank you to our friends at Dixon Community Centre for the use of their venue, hospitality and all-round helpfulness. Also, we realise that it can be difficult to take time out of the caring role to attend events like these, and we really are thankful to all of the carers and older people who took time out of their day to help us with the project – your time, patience, sensitivity and sense of humour are much appreciated. The project would have far less meaning without your involvement.