In my shoes – because it’s been an exciting week!

This week has been an exciting week. I was blown away by the Olympics opening ceremony. The image of Mr Bean ‘playing piano’  in Chariots of Fire makes me smile whenever I think of it. I loved the quirky, very British approach: the mix of Jerusalem and Jam, Tubular Bells, the parachuting Queen and Arctic Monkeys.  And did you see those wonderful pictures of the nurses on their way home

As for the games themselves, I have watched all my “favourites” but am also finding beach volleyball, handball and other ‘fringe’ sports totally compelling. Even things like fencing, where I honestly haven’t got the first clue what is happening, keep me spellbound! And of course, all those fabulous medals and close finishes…

I loved the creativity of the opening ceremony and sheer audacity. I found it refreshing that in modern Britain such a bold approach was taken, as I would have thought our “risk assessment” culture would have put too many barriers in the way.

For the #dementiachallengers, things have been exciting too. We got another nice mention by Clare Horton in her @Guardian “On my radar” site:#dementiachallengers also got a mention in Jessica Fuhl’s round-up of the week on the Guardian healthcare network.  I was delighted to see a mention for the “dementia bus” – a fab idea from Stockport that I included in an “in my shoes” post.

Talking about good practice, on Tuesday Anna Geyer and I were very honoured to be invited to facilitate the AwayDay for the award-winning Early Onset Dementia Team in Coventry. Dr Karim Saad’s team (@KarimS3D) team had recently won the NHS “Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Board – Seeking Excellence Team Award”. They had beaten off stiff competition – it was easy to see why. The day was innovative on many fronts.

Graphic from participant feedback at Riverside Stoke-on-Trent workshop July 2012

Anna and I frequently work together, normally at workshops and conferences, using our complementary combined approach (Whose Shoes? as a tool to draw out the key issues; live graphic recording to provide a permanent record for inspiration and action planning). However, this was the first time we had adapted the approach to support a team AwayDay. We also tested out some new Whose Shoes? content around dementia care, in electronic format.

I cannot tell you anything about the day itself other than it was a privilege to work with such a positive, person-centred team and to build on strong links originally made through Twitter. Why is it that the teams that are already excellent are always the ones pushing to improve further? … Well, I think I’ve just answered my own question! 🙂I also had the chance to visit “Memory Lane” and the “Forget-Me-Not” area in University Hospital, Coventry. What a lovely idea. Instead of walking down a dull corridor to the dementia ward, why not decorate it with lots and lots of tiles showing different scenes?
In this case, they were from Coventry’s history, sparking conversations and reminiscences. This type of approach brings joy to everyone, not just those with cognitive impairment, and sparks a totally individual response. For me, it was recalling the wild scenes when Coventry won the FA cup in 1987. (If I get really carried away, I might dig out a bit of video footage here of all the fans perching on rooftops and up lamp-posts … Health and Safety?) I will refrain from saying whether it has happened again before or since. It was exciting at the time!

There was also an excellent article in the Guardian by Jessica Fuhl: “What health professionals should know about dementia” in which former nurse Ann Johnson talks about “her mission to educate healthcare professionals on the realities of living with the illness”. I was thrilled that Jessica tweeted to bring this to our attention. The “power of Twitter” kicked in and a gang of #dementiachallengers quickly posted comments, hopefully serving to help raise awareness.

Social media (including the chance to post and comment on features such as Ann Johnson’s story, and the pioneering work of the Guardian in hosting web chats on key topics) is an unstoppable force. It allows ordinary people to push for dignity, respect and good quality of life for everyone living with dementia.

And finally…

Twitter is both practical and fun. I have been loving the new hashtag #tipsfornewdocs, offering, as it says on the tin, … tips for new doctors. Some are rude, some are medical, some are poignant and many are hilarious.
So the new doctor… apart from wearing comfortable shoes, making tea for the nurses, taking time for lunch…  is warned (also a favourite of the Guardian team)…

About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives.
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4 Responses to In my shoes – because it’s been an exciting week!

  1. luckockp says:

    Hi Gill,
    Your blog series just keeps getting better:) I love your summaries which help me catch up on any missed posts. This morning I’ve enjoyed reading the guardian article about Ann Johnson, really glad not to miss this.
    I also like lthe way you help to explain and promote the benefits of Twitter and Social Media, giving voice to ordinary people ” to push for dignity and respect…..”
    Keep up the good work :))


  2. Whose Shoes? says:

    Thanks Pam! Very kind – glad you find it useful and many thanks for all the support and RTs. Hopefully, it all helps to raise awareness.

    AND..,.in my ‘exciting week’, I didn’t mention exciting developments underway in Wales. Really looking forward to working with Breeda Worthington and the gang at the National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare in Wales. How good is that? And it all came about through your amazing “Communities Can” event in May: With a title like that, I guess exciting things were always on the cards!

    Keep up the good work and the amazing networking. #joiningthedots acrosstheUK 🙂


  3. Pingback: Round up of “In my shoes” – Dementia Awareness, Week 9 | Whose Shoes?

  4. Pingback: Cheers! Why Twitter Matters | Pippa Kelly ...

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