Tag Archives: social care

Values-Based Practice

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_1In 2013 Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, in south-east London, commissioned a piece of work from Practice Based Evidence and the Mental Health Foundation to explore ways in which ‘values-based practice’ can be practiced and evidenced more in the day-to-day work with service users and carers within the Adult Mental Health Directorate. So far, the programme has engaged with six pilot teams and produced a set of draft guidelines. In 2014 the programme explore innovative ways of implementing the ideas, and spreading ideas to staff in other directorates.

Now in 2015 the programme draws to a close with a focus on a specific group of people, explored elsewhere in a few podcast episodes, the team and ward managers. These are seen by the programme developers as the key people for embodying and promoting the culture change needed within teams in order to implement refined approaches to the day-to-day challenges of working with peoples strengths and focusing on person-centred values in practice rather than just words in policies and mission statements.

WHY FOCUS ON VALUES-BASED PRACTICE?

They influence everything we think, decide and do in day-to-day practice, though often in a more sub-conscious way rather than overt statements and discussions. Good practice is not about adhering to one set of right values, we should respect and embrace values diversity. Values can be very personal, professional or organisational statements, but the focus here is on the values that underpin the day-to-day language of focusing on the needs and priorities of the individual service user. Practitioners need to be supported to be able to work where values of the service user, organisation, or professional may differ or conflict.  A recent high profile report in the UK highlights the need to put this approach to values-based practice into context:

Francis Report into Stafford Hospital “People must always come before numbers. Individual patients and their treatment are what really matters. Statistics, benchmarks and action plans are tools not ends in themselves. They should not come before patients and their experiences. This is what must be remembered by all those who design and implement policy for the NHS.” Excerpt from press release statement by Robert Francis QC in Stafford (5/2/13).

One product of the overall programme has been the development of brief practical guidelines linking together values and principles, working with strengths, positive risk-taking, and the role of person-centred care planning. A modified version of these can be accessed on request through The Strengths Revolution blog.

Strengths-Based Practice

OMOpen Mind was a fabulous social care focused magazine for which I published a number of articles between 2000-2012. The following article was first published in OpenMind 126, Mar/Apr 2004) and was reproduced with their kind permission on my website at Practice Based Evidence.

It remains just as pertinent to practice today as it ever was, so I provide the link here to the strengths-based article. It focuses on the importance of principles, and the need to change the focus of our language in health and social care services to ‘go beyond  the alphabet of negativity’…

Click to access OpenMind-StrengthsBasedPractise.pdf

Podcast Episode 030: Age of experience

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2One of the main challenges of the widely recognised ageing population is how we tap into the deep well of resources in older people, as well as identifying more resources in order to support older people with specific needs.

This episode will explore the idea of ‘care capital’ from the perspective of contributing through voluntary work. An emphais is placed on the baby boomer generation, with a wealth of skills and talents alongside a desire to contribute something back into society.

What do others gain from our charitable contributions? The flip side of that coin is that we also gain enormously from making contributions of time and effort; not least the protective factors that come from structured physical and psychological activity. There are a multitude of opportunities in local communities, but our more flexible way of thinking about work should also be reflected in more flexible ways in which we may be able to shape our voluntary contributions, so that we tap into the strengths of the many. A good neighbour befriending scheme is identified as one personal example.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/030-age-of-experience/id867043694?i=320358977&mt=2

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” [Mark Twain].

Podcast Episode 024: Not for profit

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2How often do we stop and reflect on our values and principles? Not often enough, despite the fact they influence who we are, what we think, what we decide, and how we present to the world around us.

It can often take a sudden message or event that sharply challenges our values that triggers that very reflection on our personal standpoint. One such message recently encountered in the UK Observer Sunday newspaper was an article examining the gulf between the wealth and focus of private equity firms increasingly owning and running social care services for our most vulnerable people in society. The senior personnel and owners/shareholders are on astronomic salaries and dividends, and by contrast, many of the workers are forced to provide the work for less than a minimum wage.

If we examine the NHS Constitution we can be forgiven if we ask the question ‘what price are we now placing on compassion and care?’ Meanwhile, the politicians of all persuasions seem equally complicit in the neglect of fundamental values-based practice, more concerned not to offend the powerful in their pursuit of value-for-money (aka greed and inequality). Our most vulnerable and needy in society should never become pawns in the game of profit, but the slow creeping takeover by private equity of the ownership of social care is making care and compassion commodities to be exploited.

To hear the full episode click on the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/024-not-for-profit/id867043694?i=318887373&mt=2

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” [Dwight D Eisenhower].

Podcast Episode 016: Risk Taking v Risk Aversion

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Are we risk takers or are we generally more conservative in our risk decision making, more risk averse? There is no blanket answer to this question for any of us, as there are different situations and circumstances that influence us in different ways.

Health and Social Care service practitioners may become more risk averse in particular situations, and some will be more risk averse depending on their own experiences. When is it ok to be risk averse? When it is the clearly reasoned decision based on careful consideration of the information available to us.

Risk decisions will be part of everyday experiences within health and social care services across all sectors e.g. mental health, learning disability or older persons services. The same principles apply to all of us in our personal lives, when we are confronted with situations that require a difficult decision.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/016-risk-taking-v-risk-aversion/id867043694?i=316511320&mt=2

“There is a short window at the beginning of one’s professional life when it is comparatively easy to take big risks. Make the most of that time, before circumstances make you risk averse.” [Joshua Foer].