Can Scotland Help? @WeNurses #70nursebloggers

It came to my attention this week that Professor Jane Cummings,  The Chief Nursing Officer for England has called on nursing, midwifery and care staff to help mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS by encouraging more nurses and midwives to blog in order to showcase the fantastic contribution that the profession has made to healthcare over the years. Rather than looking backwards, I thought I’d say something about what is going in Scotland that might inspire our nursing and health and social care colleagues in England. So here goes!

Realistic Medicine was initially discussed as a way forward for the NHS in Scotland by the Cheif Medical Officer Dr Cath Calderwood in 2016. It has become an NHS’ vision for introducing the concept of “realistic medicine” concept and is designed to make sure that by 2025 anyone providing healthcare in Scotland will take a realistic medicine approach. NHS Inform states

 Realistic medicine puts the person receiving health and social care at the centre of decisions made about their care. It encourages health and care workers to find out what matters most to you so that the care of your condition fits your needs and situation. Realistic medicine recognises that a one size fits all approach to health and social care is not the most effective path for the patient or the NHS.

Realistic medicine is not just about doctors. It applies to all professionals who use their skills and knowledge to help people maintain their health and prevent and treat illness. This includes nurses of course, but also pharmacists, physios, OT’s, social work and everyone else. The Chief Medical Officer’s third annual report was published last week but if you want to know more about this approach and its impact you can read this and download the 2018 summary from here

One of the features that is really useful for all nurses and healthcare professionals is the idea of encouraging people to ask 5 questions about their treatment. The 5 questions are given in the image below.

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So a challenge to our nursing colleagues elsewhere spread the word and start encouraging your patients to use the 5 questions.

The second initiative is less uniquely Scottish but it has certainly been having an impact and that’s called “What Matters to You”  This Scotland-wide campaign encourages and supports meaningful conversations between people who provide health and social care and the people, families and carers who receive their care. ‘What Matters to You?’ day started in Norway in 2014 and has been growing internationally since. This year ‘What matters to you?’ day falls on the 6th June 2018, so there is still plenty of time to get involved. Of course, asking “What matters to you?” isn’t a question for just one day its a question that we should ask everyone. As Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer, Fiona McQueen has said,

“The one thing I think that would transform the care that we deliver to people is to listen…… really listen; not just hear what suits us. We need to listen to staff who deliver care and make changes that support them to provide real excellence; but in particular, we need to listen to people who use our services. When we focus on what truly matters to the person and have that ‘what matters to you?’ conversation, that is what will make all the difference”

For a bit of inspiration about personalising healthcare to include what matters, see Why is it important to ask what matters? and  @PersonCntrdSco and if you are on Twitter look for #wmty18

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Dare to Connect

Have you ever seen this symbol?

Bliue Assist

Can’t say I have either, so I better explain. This is the symbol of BlueAssist. Created by a small centre for adults with learning difficulties in Ostend, Belgium. The scheme began as a series of written cards with a distinctive logo, and the words Dare to Connect. The symbol is there to help the public understand that the person asking for help may not be able to communicate easily, just as the wheelchair symbol is recognised for those with physical difficulties. The simple idea was that when the person presents a BlueAssist message which has been pre-prepared such as

“Please can you help me catch the number 5 bus”

Members of the public would understand from the symbol and the message on the card what is needed and could then provide assistance.

Not only can you get the cards you can now get a Blue Assist mobile phone app.

The whole point here is that ANYONE who has difficulty getting their message across, either because of physical problems, such as a stroke, hearing impairment, stammer or temporary problem such as a broken jaw. Or those who find it hard due to a long-term disability such as learning disability or any older person there are many people who want to remain independent but may find their memory and word finding ability makes asking for help difficult.

To find out more and maybe even to download the App,  go to

http://www.blueassistuk.org.uk/

Simple and effective, wouldn’t it be good to see it widely used. Thanks to   @WendyPMitchell for bringing this to my attention in her blog.

Only a  few weeks to go to the UK General Election. So a post from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation addressed to whoever wins called  “After the election, the Government needs to get to grips with poverty” seems apt.