“No more throw away people”

Well, it has been quite a week. And it is only Thursday morning 😉

On Monday, I had a long conversation with someone living with young onset dementia. It is amazing how living with a terminal illness sharpens the issues. I am no medic but I detect that it brings about symptoms such as impatience, an allergic reaction to time-wasting and an intolerance of undue process. Think about it.

Tuesday saw me catching an early train to London for my first taste of the College of Medicine conference, which proved to be a tonic. Just what the doctor ordered. I like the College of Medicine because they attract innovators and think I am one of them.  I am looking forward to co-presenting a Whose Shoes? workshop with Larry for their students’ residential event in Birmingham in September. They are inviting students from different universities and different disciplines to come together and talk to each other.
How radical is that? 🙂
And the Whose Shoes? / Larry combination will make sure we all engage a little more with understanding what it means to live with dementia.

Anyway, we are still on Tuesday.  The conference was great but the networking was amazing. I get really excited about meeting real people who I know so well on-line. As well as the College of Medicine people, I was SO looking forward to meeting two Experts by Experience  – Anya de Iongh (@anyadei) and Alison Cameron (allyc375). They were both “what it says on the tin” people – just how I imagined them. To get to know Anya, take a look at her “The Patient Patient” blog and you will see what I mean. Alison has written an ‘in my shoes’ guest blog that I will publish in early July – it will be worth the wait.

What I love about these conferences is the unexpected treats. The unexpected treat was meeting Dr James Fleming. Alison and I sat together watching his presentation about his Green Dreams Project and were literally blown away (well, perhaps not literally) by his J*DI approach. I have only ever presented one J*DI award to Lee @dragonmisery for her dementiachallengers.com website. Well here is the second one.

Dr Fleming “set up the Green Dreams Project to help patients who need multi-agency support for long-term unemployment, isolation and reduced life skills, but who are unable to co-ordinate the help themselves.” As you do. That simple sentence speaks volumes – practical community-based support for those who so often fall through the net. The “throw away people”, described by the wonderful Edgar Cahn. (Alison mentioned the book to me and I found this video. Squares and blobs. You will enjoy it.)

Alison and I set out to nobble Dr Fleming after his talk. We had to speak to this guy who had described his project as if it was the most normal thing in the world. He later told me that he doesn’t see barriers … 🙂 … whereas everyone in the audience thought it was pretty damn special. It now spans seven towns across East Lancashire and offers, for example, job clubs, volunteering opportunities, gardening schemes, advocacy, older people’s clubs, individual support (lots) and the list goes on…

One particular ditty I enjoyed was that Dr Fleming spotted that he had a lot of lonely elderly women visiting the surgery to see him regularly (well, there’s a surprise!) but without a lot wrong with them …. so he set up a lunch club for them all to meet; he has hardly seen them since.

The jargon might be peer support; I would call it normality and friendship and fabulous common sense.

These things do not just happen. I can picture Dr Fleming burning the midnight oil now working on his project – just as I am to write about it. So it is late and no time to tell you any more about Tuesday, EXCEPT to say that the Patients Leaders workshop was excellent.

We identified a lot of barriers to the cultural change that needs to happen to get people genuinely working together for positive change. I found it highly ironic that the Chair’s summary of the session was that “the key problem seems to be that you are struggling to find a forum to have the dialogue…”

I got the chance to show a few people the electronic version of Whose Shoes? on my laptop. Everyone seems to like it. It is a tool to get people talking to each other across the great divide… social care… health… medics… patients…carers…providers…commissioners…. Perhaps they will make the link?

Last week - walking in Spain. With good friends of Norman Lamb... another story ;)

Last week – walking in Spain. With good friends of Norman Lamb… another story 😉

So, Wednesday started bright and breezy with a walk. Not a literal walk but with Helen Sanderson mustering the troops on Twitter. This was very good fun and a lovely opportunity to recognise and appreciate the people who are perhaps the J*DI people in health and social care. This had me smiling at my computer in rather a sad way for rather too long but we are learning that, as Helen says in her new blog, appreciating people, is important.

Come and join us on our walk:

I think it is one of those things where you probably had to be there.
We invited more and more people to join the walk and many of them were ‘professionals.’

What an honour! Helen Bevan then proceeded to follow all my recommended people.

And I was not the only one to be pleased:

Meanwhile, I had told Dr John Cosgrove and Dr Martin Brunet, two of my “Grassroots” GP pals, about the fab scheme ‘up north’.

I know John and Martin will follow this up and I am delighted to help make these connections.  If I can play some small part in spreading good practice around the country, them I too am smiling 🙂

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. http://nutshellcomms.co.uk
This entry was posted in Blogs, co-production, community engagement, compassion, dementia, education, health, in my shoes, mental health, personalisation, social care, social media, TLAP - Making It Real, well-being and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “No more throw away people”

  1. Pingback: Whose Shoes? is all about values – putting the person in the centre… and MAKING IT REAL! | Whose Shoes?

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