This week’s story answers a couple of questions that we are sometimes asked early in our work with new innovation sites.

“WE’VE KNOWN THESE PEOPLE A LONG TIME. THERE’S NOTHING NEW WE CAN DO FOR THEM, IS THERE? – But have we always taken the same approach & asked the same questions?  No wonder we’ve not done anything different.  Let’s try a different approach this time & see where that leads!

“IF I CAN’T REFER ON, HOW WILL I MANAGE MY WORKLOAD?” – You’re not alone in this work & the 3 Conversations approach encourages you to collaborate with & make connections to others who can advise or provide practical help. This saves time & stops people being batted around in our system.

One example which shows this is Victor, a man in his mid 80’s who has a number of health issues including diabetes, heart & kidney disease, fluid in his legs, foot & neuropathy.  When the innovator visited Victor to have a “review” conversation she spent some time learning about him, his time in the army in Cyprus, his interest in art & history, & that he had appeared as an extra in several TV historical dramas.  He loved wildlife & had two pet birds as well as a bird feeding station outside his window.  His toes were blue, & he was unsteady on his feet, which made him less inclined to go outside. Victor was pretty bored being stuck at home.  The management of his extra care complex didn’t offer anything of interest to him & Bingo wasn’t his style.  

WHAT DID THE WORKER DO? – The innovator talked through a few ideas with Victor, to see how he felt about these & made connections to a companion caller group.  She also arranged for the local library delivery service to regularly bring a bagful of books to his home for free, on subjects that interested him.  She contacted Victor’s GP to request support and monitoring of his health conditions by district nurses & brought colleagues from the Reablement team into the conversation to work with Victor on his mobility & look at options for a motorised wheelchair so he could get into the garden to see the wildlife.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED? –Usual practice would have meant going through the same old form with Victor, asking the same old ‘tick box’ questions & focusing on his clinical needs, rather than considering him as a human being with other interests & wishes.

WHAT DID HAPPEN? – Victor was able to have a more open conversation with someone who showed a genuine interest in him.  Whilst his existing support plan didn’t change, the quality of his life did.  His family contacted the team to say how grateful they were for the work they had done for their father.  The innovator did a great job but was able to make use of the support of others around her to help with this.