As another big conference starts tomorrow – this time the National Children and Adult Services conference in Bournemouth – #ncasc15 – here is my challenge to the delegates:
Prevention… Integration… Mind the Gap!
And here is the story that led to the video:
In June 2015, I was invited to give a talk at the NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool alongside Dr Mark Newbold, Chair of the Commission on Improving Urgent Care for Older People. This is a subject close to my heart, both in my Whose Shoes? Work and my personal life. I published a Steller visual story as a light-hearted way of sharing the experience.
My talk included many stories. I talked about my late father and his eight heart attacks;
I talked about my 93-year-old mum and our efforts to keep her out of hospital, not only safe but happy and as independent as possible.
I sat and chatted to Mark after the end of the session and he invited me to join the Commission. Instead I suggested a number of ‘critical friends’ that I thought could add a much wider perspective, not least my mum herself.
Well, when I said Mum would be happy to help, I didn’t expect her to go so far beyond the call of duty. She has since provided a real live cameo of how wonderful the NHS is at fixing people… but how much still remains to be done in terms of joining things up.
Repeated falls, trips to A&E, emergency admission, waiting on a trolley for 3 hours 59 minutes, being moved between wards, communication (or lack of), multiple assessments (Mum said she has felt like a performing seal), scans and treatment, delayed discharge… my mum has had the lot. And then accelerated discharge after my #FreeGillsMum Twitter campaign led to a Steller story which ‘went a bit viral’, not because the story was particularly unusual, more because it was an all too common experience that most people could relate to.
We then entered the world of different teams of carers, an emergency NHS home team, social services re-ablement team (Mum called them the ‘derailment team’), GPs and district nurses, ‘domiciliary phlebotomists’ (my favourite job title) and many more. We met lots of (mainly) great health and care professionals trying to do an excellent job and came across constant examples of processes that didn’t talk to each other: time-consuming and demoralising for staff and soul destroying for patients and families.