Resource E-Pack for Adult Practitioners | Social Care Resources

This Resource E-Pack has been developed for Adult Practitioners and showcases an excellent list of free direct resources that can be used when working with vulnerable adults. 

Visit our direct resources, guides & assessment handouts centre

Over 400 direct resources you can download .

Why social workers need access to wellbeing services 24/7

Whilst social workers aim to improve the lives of others, with a major focus on human rights and overall wellbeing, it’s also important they also receive assistance.

It’s a stressful job and requires a lot of hard work and commitment.

As such, social workers should have access to support all day, every day. And in this article we explain why.

Stress epidemic

It’s essential that social workers look after themselves. There are limits and avoiding burnout can ensure they do their job to a greater extent.

This is a longstanding issue with many in the industry, with NHS nurses reportedly quitting as they’re burned out and suffering from excessive workloads. That report is from June 3rd in The Guardian, which back in 2013 highlighted the need for looking for warning signs.

In social workers must look after themselves and recognise their limits Dr Paula McFadden states:

“Emotional exhaustion and a lack of personal accomplishment leads to a lowering of resilience in social workers. Further analysis found a chain of events that begin with excessive workloads. Workload was found to be a predictor of emotional exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion was a predictor of de-personalisation, and this was then related to lower levels of personal accomplishment about the job.”

As Dr McFadden confirms:

“Social workers and their employers must recognise their personal limits and look after themselves first if they are to help others.”

And whilst they can do that by living a healthy lifestyle—eating the right foods, taking the right downtime, and getting enough sleep—they also need to ensure they look after their mental health.

Signs and symptoms of stress

The reasons why this needs addressing are clear. The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) conducted a report in 2017 and found half of social workers were intending to leave the profession.

This report also found over £600 million of unpaid overtime had been created by social workers.

Social workers do an important job for communities and help to further the progressive path of modern society. But they should also have access to wellbeing opportunities to ensure they can continue doing their jobs.

The trick is to look out for issues before they develop into something uncontrollable. Signs and symptoms of stress include:

  • Insomnia.
  • Mood swings.
  • Impatience.
  • Fatigue.
  • Anxiety.
  • Presenteeism.
  • An increase in sick days.
  • Turning to comfort food or alcohol for support.

Once these issues begin manifesting—often with many simultaneously—then the situation can head into a downward spiral.

As such, it’s important to address stress as soon as possible. In the long-term, this can create a better work-life balance and reduce the amount of stress a social worker deals with.

Techniques to encouraging recovery

The best thing anyone can do is tackle the situation with the right steps. Some of these we covered earlier, but below we’ll clarify more of the options available.

  • Refer to an EPA—employee assistance program. These can be enormously beneficial in ensuring all staff members stay happy and focussed.
  • Be healthly, which includes taking regular exercise, eating well, drinking the right drinks (lots of water, tea etc.), and getting a good sleeping pattern established.
  • Rediscover the joys of a personal life. Embracing the joys of a night out at a restaurant with friends is, as one example, a great way to restore personal time. This will, in turn, ensure a return to full health and productivity.
  • Take regular time off. Unwind at the weekends and enjoy some much deserved holiday time as and when you need it. If social workers put an aspect of their personal life first, it can offer a significant boost.
  • Set boundaries with clients and colleagues. Social workers shouldn’t feel the need to work unsociable hours that will only ever damage their mental health. As such, they should take control and make it clear the hours they’re willing to work.

So, why is this all important? As it keeps our social workers healthy and happier. In the long-term, that keeps them in their roles and helping those around them for the good of society.

Self Care for Social Workers

A great resource for social workers called: '50 Acts of Professional Self Care for Social Workers'

Author: David Price from Health Assured, wellbeing specialists.

Lone Working in Social Work – Practitioner Survey | LGA & Newham Council

One Stop Social are working with the Local Government Association and Newham Council to increase awareness around the safety of Lone Working in Social Work.

Many colleagues have voiced their concerns over the lack of equipment and policies protecting Social Workers lone working within the community. It’d be greatly appreciated if you could complete this 2-minute survey so we can understand the current dynamic and learn how Social Workers can be better protected when working alone.

Lone Working in Social Work

Please have your say on Lone Working in Social Work. The survey takes less than two minutes to complete.

Social Work Needs to Help Fathers

[vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]It’s no secret that families have changed in recent years. Divorce is no longer a taboo subject, IVF and other advances have made it easier for everyone to start a family and, slowly but surely, adoption by a gay or lesbian couple is becoming legal worldwide. To look at things simply, the term family means something different to what it did 50 years ago. With such positive development though, we must take the time to make sure we are adapting to the new normal: in particular in terms of the roles fathers play in the lives of their children.[/text][custom_heading delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]

Why focus on dads?

[/custom_heading][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]When a couple separates children are more likely to live with their mother, which leaves their relationships with their fathers in a precarious position. Or if a family is hit by a tragedy, a father can sometimes be the only parent a child can turn to. These changes mean the importance of the role a father stereotypically used to play in the nurture and emotional upbringing of a child is very different. With these new changes, social workers need to make an active effort to ensure that they are working with fathers and teaching them about how best to care for their children. There’s endless research proving how having an engaged dad is beneficial for the whole family, with kids developing better social skills and mental health, as well as performing better educationally. Sharing the child care responsibilities reduces the pressure on individual parents and statistically leads to more positive relationships with both parents.

The past year has been dominated by strong women standing up for themselves and taking a stand for equality; and while it’s a slightly quieter movement, men are fighting their own fight around gender stereotypes and what it looks like to be a man in 2019. Hollywood actor Justin Baldoni recently gave an inspiring TED Talk which went viral in a matter of days, where he discussed why he was done being “man enough”. President Obama was celebrated not just for his political actions, but for the way he expressed his emotions towards his daughters while in the public eye, most notably in his farewell address in Chicago. Men in positions of power or fame are more frequently using their platforms to discuss modern masculinity and most importantly, their relationships with their children. The power of technology and media means that children can see what positive father-child relationships look like across the world; whereas historically a father eager to actively participate in the typically feminine role of care was a rarity in everyday life. It’s becoming more normal for fathers to be involved in their child’s emotional growth.[/text][custom_heading delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=”” style=””]

So how do we start helping UK fathers?

[/custom_heading][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]The whole social work industry needs to develop programmes where fathers can learn about pregnancy and raising children in a welcoming environment, through advice from men going through similar situations or sessions with doctors or child psychologists. By understanding the situation, fathers can then learn to facilitate change with the help of social workers. As a society we need to show support for men who challenge the stereotypical norm and are keen to take on a leading role in the emotional education of their children. Practitioners need to involve dads in their work, by asking about them if they’re absent in meetings or ensuring their voice is heard. It can be difficult to engage with some fathers, maybe they aren’t comfortable discussing their emotions, especially during tough times but it is so important for the whole family that they do. A good place to start could be promoting support groups for dads dealing with loss or encouraging workplaces to recognise family commitments for men in the same way as they do for women. This is an issue that has gained government attention, with MPs recognising that the current parental leave system needs reform, but while the politicians debate legal change; we as members of communities need to show societal change. Social workers need to make sure there is adequate support for dads within the existing structures, even with simple things like making sure fathers get all the same information as mothers. Meanwhile, everyone else can show their encouragement for dads by asking about them in schools, doctors’ appointments, extracurricular sessions… any aspect of a child’s life where another parent would be a positive addition.

A father is an irreplaceable part of a child’s life; no matter what social background, economic class or nationality – fathers are important. And if social work does not factor in this importance then children can be left with emotional scars and damaged relationships that stop them from living their best lives, which at its core is what social work aims to do for every citizen.[/text][callout type=”style_one” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” title=”Direct Resources” message=”List of free to download resources you can use when working with parents.” title_color=”” text_color=”” bg_image=”” href=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][button text=”Parenting Risk Assessment | Assessing Parenting Capacity (NSPCC)” type=”” size=”large” color_class=”” float=”start” target=”blank” lightbox=”” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” href=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk//social-work-social-care-resources/resources-card/?dID=5379″ title=”” popup_content=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][clear by=”10px” id=”” class=””][button text=”Parents Guide to making plans for their children after separation” type=”” size=”large” color_class=”” float=”start” target=”blank” lightbox=”” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” href=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk//social-work-social-care-resources/resources-card/?dID=3819″ title=”” popup_content=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/callout][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Date for Social Work England to take over from the HCPC has been announced

[vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” width=”1/1″][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]The Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi has announced Monday 2 December 2019 as the date when Social Work England will take over from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as the new social work regulator.

In preparation for the announcement, significant progress has been made to ensure a smooth and safe transition for social workers. Social Work England will become the new regulator later this year subject to this successful development continuing.

Speaking about the announcement, Colum Conway, Chief Executive of Social Work England, said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce that we will soon become the new specialist regulator for social workers. As a social worker, I understand the positive impact that professionals have on millions of people. I also understand the complexity of the work and the competing priorities in the role. That is why we are putting collaborative working at the heart of all we do and our recent consultation on rules and standards was just one example of this.

“Over the course of the year we will continue to work with the HCPC to ensure an efficient and smooth transition. We are also committed to exploring new approaches that offer responsive and proportionate regulation – empowering professionals to be the very best they can be.”

Marc Seale, Chief Executive of HCPC, said:

“We will continue to work closely with Social Work England to ensure there will be a smooth transition. Good progress has been made so far, and this will continue until the regulatory functions are effectively transferred. Until that time, we are committed to regulating the profession and delivering our core purpose of public protection. We will also ensure that our work on the regulation of the 15 other professions remains unaffected by our focus on the transfer of social workers.”

Social Work England will be the new, specialist regulator for social workers in England. We are an independent public protection body, setting professional, education and training standards for social workers.[/text][callout type=”style_one” direction=”start” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” title=”About Social Work England” message=”Social Work England will be the new, specialist regulator for social workers in England. We are an independent public protection body, setting professional, education and training standards for social workers.” title_color=”” text_color=”” bg_image=”” href=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][button text=”Click here for some helpful frequently asked questions” type=”” size=”large” color_class=”” float=”center” target=”blank” lightbox=”” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” href=”https://socialworkengland.org.uk/launch-date-announced-for-specialist-social-work-regulator/” title=”” popup_content=”” id=”” class=”” style=””][/callout][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Social Worker of the Month Awards – Promoting Positive Social Work

To promote all the amazing and positive social work carried out by the OSS community, we’re starting a ‘Social Worker of the Month’ award! We want to recognise the individuals who go above and beyond in their role. If you know someone who deserves to be acknowledged for their outstanding work, please apply on their behalf on our websites contact form! 

The winner will be announced at the end of the month and we’ll send them a free item of their choice from our brand-new OSS Store!

Enter a colleague

The OSS Store is now live – Discounted social work and care books and resources

We’re delighted to announce the launch our brand new One Stop Social Store, which will be the only discounted books and resources store for the social work and care community. With up to 30% discount on essential educational books and key resources, we’re providing the greatest range of industry recognised literature at the cheapest price. 

This is the first stage of lots of new things to come at One Stop Social and we couldn’t be more excited!

Access our OSS Store

Mont Calm Residential care home celebrates half a million care records

Staff at Mont Calm Residential care home in Kent have been celebrating reaching a very special milestone with their care recording.

The team at Mont Calm started using Log my Care for their care records last September and have now logged more than 500,000 actions. With Log my Care, staff can create notes on their mobile phones whilst working around the home, with the care manager able to keep an overview of all activity.

Louise Stocker, Registered Manager at Mont Calm, comments:

“Since we started using Log my Care last year it has been fantastic. We knew that lots of other care homes had started using online services for care recording, and we also wanted to improve the way we recorded notes, so we felt it was time for us to try it too. We came across Log my Care and haven’t looked back since.

“One aspect that has been really important for us is that we can record nutrition and hydration at mealtimes accurately. Using paper, it was much harder to get a precise record of the time food and drinks were given. But using Log my Care, we can make notes on the go which means we can monitor things much more closely. That way we can make sure our residents are meeting their daily targets for nutrition and hydration, which is a really important part of our audit process.

“From the staff point of view, they are really enjoying using the system and have found it really easy to get to grips with. Before they used to just see a mountain of paperwork that was tedious and tiring. Now they are much more aware of the purpose and the importance of recording, especially when they see the graphs which we can generate in seconds.

“It is really amazing to have reached this milestone and I am so proud of all of our team.”

Sam Hussain, Founder of Log my Care, comments:

“It’s fantastic news for the Mont Calm team to have reached this milestone. What’s remarkable is how quickly they adopted change and made the leap from paper to digital, as well as the staggering volume of care data they’re able to diligently record as a team. I’m extremely pleased in particular that our system is making it easier to manage their residents’ food and fluids requirements. We are delighted for all the staff at Mont Calm and send them all our congratulations.”

Log my Care is an easy and cost-effective way for residential care homes to move to electronic care planning. The new system has been developed by carers for carers and has been specifically designed to overcome the challenging amounts of administration and paperwork involved in delivering residential care. Log my Care is free to use and available to download from both the App Store and Google Play. 

To find out more and use the system for free, please get in touch.

How digital technology can transform social care – TEC

[vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]Technology Enabled Care (TEC) – What is it? Connected health, also known as technology enabled care (TEC), involves the convergence of health technology digital media and mobile devices. What does it do, you ask? It enables patients, carers and healthcare professionals (HCP’s) to access data and information more easily and improves the quality and outcomes of both health and social care.

TEC is not simply about the technology, it’s about putting people first. To do TEC right, it’s about joining up services around the individual – using data from various sources which provide real-time monitoring and communication, in relation to mental health as well as physical health. When people are living alone with long-term conditions or health challenges, TEC can keep them in contact with practitioners, monitoring services and carers in the form of digital media and mobile devices.

As you know, opportunities for using mobile technology have improved vastly over the last few years with the growing population of smartphone and tablet users in the UK, even among older age groups. Other notable developments are the availability of healthcare ‘bio sensing’ wearables, such as digital blood pressure monitors and glucose sensors and patient and provider access to real time healthcare data and information. Mobile technology can empower patients and carers by giving them more control over their health and making them less dependent on HCP’s for health information.

Just as you guessed, there are always going to be challenges arising. Overcoming staff reluctance to engage with technology is a tough one – HCP’s are often reluctant to engage with technology, partly due to the scale and pace of development and the proliferation and speed of development. As you can imagine, staff find it difficult with keeping up with the constant development and changes of technology. There are also concerns about quality, reliability; data, privacy and security- which will be discussed further in future blog posts!

Technology has the power to improve access to healthcare services, especially those with mobility problems.  Moving forward, technology will extend to more wearable, voice-controlled and implanted devices – we need to be ready for widespread availability of sensors and how we can make use of them without ethical or security worries. Health and care professionals also need a wide understanding of what is available and how it can be personalised.

We can come to the conclusion that;

  1. The digital shift is inevitable, a plan of action is needed to minimise disruption.
  2. The great opportunities of digital health care cannot be missed.
  3. Care services must keep up with consumer expectations and emerging technologies.
  4. Collaboration and alignment are vital
  5. Costs will be significant, but the investment is worth making.

[/text][custom_heading delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=”” style=”” tutorials=””]

Sponsor:

[/custom_heading][image img_size=”medium” float=”center” caption=”” lightbox=”” target=”blank” width=”” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” is_gallert_item=”” src=”6154″ alt=”” href=”https://logmycare.co.uk/” title=”” popup_content=”” id=”” class=”” style=”” tutorials=””][custom_heading delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=”” style=”” tutorials=””]

Who are we?

[/custom_heading][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]Log my Care are a UK based care management system provider focused on providing an easy and cost-effective way for residential care homes to move towards electronic care planning. We are proud to say that our newest system is ‘by carers, for carers’ and has been specifically designed to overcome the challenging amounts of admin and paperwork involved in day to day residential care.

We do this in two ways. The first is a smartphone app, in which carers can use to record at the point of care. This shows their daily to-do list, so they can keep on track of what to do and when. It also lets carers add a second signature for two-person activities and helps improve care by letting carers know if any of their tasks are overdue. The second part is ‘The Care Office’. This is a web portal created to give Managers and Owners the simplest way of organising the delivery of care across the whole home. It not only helps to set care standards, but it also provides an audit-trail and reduces repetitive admin tasks, freeing up time for more important activities.

We were inspired to create Log my Care following research into the challenges facing front-line carers every day. Log my Care is designed to empower carers, with user friendly hardware helping them to deliver better care.

Log my Care’s main features are free to use for all UK care homes. This, along with advantages such as the 2-factor authentication, mean that care homes don’t need to spend large amounts on hardware and can simply use a smartphone, saving costs from the get-go.[/text][callout type=”style_one” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” title=”Featured Resources” message=”Download these fantastic free resources for social care practitioners.” title_color=”” text_color=”” bg_image=”” href=”” id=”” class=”” style=”” tutorials=””][button text=”Social Care Jargon Buster | Think Local Act Personal ” type=”” color_class=”” float=”start” target=”blank” lightbox=”” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” href=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk//social-work-social-care-resources/resources-card/?dID=857″ title=”” popup_content=”” id=”” class=”” style=”” tutorials=””][clear by=”10px” id=”” class=””][button text=”Guide for line managers: Wellness Action Plans (WAPs) | Supporting Staff” type=”” color_class=”” float=”start” target=”blank” lightbox=”” delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” href=”https://www.onestopsocial.co.uk//social-work-social-care-resources/resources-card/?dID=5384″ title=”” popup_content=”” id=”” class=”” style=”” tutorials=””][/callout][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” css=”.vc_custom_1561376691968{background-color: #ffffff !important;border: 3px initial !important;}”][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” css=”.vc_custom_1561376486342{background-color: #848685 !important;border: 3px initial !important;}”][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][/vc_column][/vc_row]

“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life” | Exploring Palliative Care

[vc_row bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” animate_item=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” css=”.vc_custom_1560868987278{background-color: #ffffff !important;border: 3px initial !important;}”][vc_column bg_type=”” dima_canvas_style=”” min_height=”” translate_x=”0″ dima_z_index=”0″ delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=””][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]I can make the last stage of my life as good as possible because everyone works together confidently, honestly and consistently to help me and the people who are important to me, including my carer(s).”

Everyone will die. It is one of the few things in life that is guaranteed. The challenge for services is to ensure that end of life care and support makes this time as good as possible. The quote above is from Every Moment Counts – Produced by National Voices and the National Council for Palliative Care, in partnership with NHS England in 2015. In the Foreword to the report, Dr Bee Wee, National Clinical Director for End of Life Care says “Everyone’s experience is unique: one size cannot fit all. This narrative reminds professionals and volunteers to stop, think and respond in a way that is, and feels, honest and personal to that person in front of them. It helps service providers and commissioners to look at the service they are entrusted to deliver through the eyes of the person who needs that care”.

The document goes on to highlight the importance of:

  • having honest discussions;
  • working towards goals that put the person and those around them at the centre;
  • meeting physical emotional, spiritual and practical needs; and
  • having responsive and timely support day or night.

[/text][text delay=”” delay_duration=”” delay_offset=”” id=”” class=””]In 2017 ABMU (now Swansea Bay) Health Board in South Wales commissioned an independent review of their specialist palliative care service. This was completed in 2018 and included a review of good practice across the UK, but particularly in England. The examples were wide ranging but below is a summary of a couple that particularly resonate, given the powerful statements from Every Moment Counts.

The Gold Line service provided by the Airdale NHS Foundation Trust is often given as an example of good practice in relation to providing responsive and timely support day or night. It provides a dedicated 24/7 telephone service for people who may be in their last year of life and their families across Airedale, Wharfedale, Craven and Bradford. Nurses operate the helpline and the service has resulted in a significantly higher proportion of people being able to die in the place of their choosing (usually at home) than the national average.

This initiative is similar to others across the UK, however, what sets it apart from many includes the 24/7 access and the qualifications and experience of the staff operating the phone lines. The service also provides support to around 600 care homes, both within the Trust’s boundaries and across other areas of the UK. The impact of the service includes a significant reduction in hospital admissions over and above the levels of reassurance and support given to individuals and their families.

At the centre of the messages from Every Moment Counts is the need to work towards goals that put the person and those around them at the centre. Within Social Care this is a familiar concept that has its roots in Learning Disability services and Person-Centred Planning (PCP). The ABMU review found little evidence of PCP principles and approaches being used broadly within Palliative Care, however, the McMillan website provided a link to ‘Living Well: thinking and planning about the end of your life’. This is produced by Helen Sanderson who will be well known to those who use PCP approaches in their work. One of the challenges of all services is ensuring there is a coordinated approach from different agencies when supporting individuals. This needs to centre on everyone knowing what is important to that individual (and family) in order that there is a coordinated and efficient approach to support. Very often services rely on MIS systems to record this information (when it is recorded). However, in most cases different services (including Health, Social Services, Ambulance, Third Sector) use different MIS systems that results in a fragmentation of information and support.

Findings from the Review, and messages from the wider sector, also identified the critical importance of having honest discussions. Whilst levels of awareness and skills within Specialist Palliative Care staff are usually high in this area, this is often not the case for others who may have contact with individuals in their last 12 months of life. This includes staff within the wider NHS, social workers, social care staff within care homes, domiciliary care, GPs and others. The result of this is that families in particular can go through unnecessary distress, particularly after the death of their loved one. Most areas of the UK will probably have training for some of these wider groups of staff, but it is an ongoing challenge to ensure that levels of awareness and skills are developed. Not everyone might be able to have the skills to have these very difficult conversations, but at least they need the awareness to signpost the person to somebody who does.

In summary, the UK is seen as one of the leaders in the world in relation to Palliative Care. This is mostly due to the work of Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement. We should be proud of the knowledge and expertise we have developed, but never be complacent about the need to do more. The messages are simple in concept but often difficult to put into practice across all our services, in summary these include:

  • Have honest conversations with individuals and their families – it’s not easy, but it really makes a difference;
  • Know what is important to individuals and their families. Use the learning from PCP to contribute to this and consider that a person-centred plan on paper and held by the individual might be more useful than information in a computer system;
  • Respond to this in a coordinated way across services, minimising stress for all concerned;
  • Look at ways in which support can be provided 24/7 via telephone and tele-conferencing. This can enhance the quality of life of individuals and their families and reduce the stress on primary and secondary services.

You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life.” Dame Cicely Saunders

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