We spend a lot time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.” – Dr. Prabhjot Singh
(Pictured are: Christo, Vickie, Rebecca and Christopher)
We, at the Innovation Lab (Department of Finance and Personnel), focus on understanding the views of the public in relation to services. We want to put the people at the heart of how public services are delivered and believe that systems and services work better when we take account of the opinions of the people who use them.
Since retiring from nursing, Clare Greenfield has been volunteering for panels and local voluntary organisations. As this week’s guest blogger, Clare gives her take on the value of volunteering in care settings.
‘It is well recognised that there are increasing numbers of volunteers involved in health care settings with significant benefits to both the volunteer and those who receive help. There are a range of opportunities for volunteers to become part of health and social care provision.
Volunteers provide unpaid support for the benefit of others. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, with diverse skills and a willingness to become involved and committed.
Older and retired people, students and school-agers make up the inter-generational aspect of volunteering. Volunteering together helps create opportunities to make friends and learn from each other.
Lindsay, mum to Reuben and wife to Gavin, shares her story on Postnatal Depression (PND).
I was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression (PND) 4 months ago. In reality, I have discovered what I have is Antenatal Depression - in that my problems and issues began during pregnancy - and, being undiagnosed, continued after my son Reuben (now 2 years old) was born. In facing the illness and learning what it's really all about, I started to share my struggle with it and journey through it on my blog.
I realised I couldn't be the only mum struggling, considering that at least 1 in 10 women suffer, but no one had ever talked about it before either to me or with me, so I guessed we needed to raise awareness about it. Speaking out on my blog is the best thing I could have done! So many women have contacted me privately to share their experience and story of PND. I have been overwhelmed - I've discovered that some women who I know have also been struggling and I had no idea! It's been such a privilege and a responsibility to hear the pain and heartache of others.
Unpaid carers are the unseen, unsung heroes in our communities. This week the Patient and Client Council published a report calledCarers’ Priorities. A list of ten priorities relating to health and social care have been identified by carers in the report. They include better community care to support carers, improved access to respite services, and more support to allow carers to carry out their caring role.
It is estimated that £4.4 billion is saved every year from the care provided by unpaid carers. This is probably a low estimate because so many people do not consider themselves as carers.
5 Illustrations which help aid understanding
Words can be tricky things – finding the right ones, taking them in and understanding the context of their meaning.
Describing the ever-changing landscape of depression is a challenge. No two people experience depression in the same way, just as the things which help people can differ.
Illustrations can help us to understand something in a snapshot. They’re often easier to digest too.
We thought we’d compile a list of our favourite illustrations/illustrators who continually draw on their own personal experiences and blow our socks off with images we love sharing across our social media platforms.
Please do share, the comments below, any illustrations which blow your socks off. We love discovering new people to follow and support.
Courtesy of Blurt
Whether it’s a pulled muscle, a tooth ache or a migraine, all of us have experienced physical pain at one stage in our lives. But, imagine living with pain every day of your life - It’s not something I would wish to experience. It can hamper plans with families, limit career choices and put strain on relationships.
A few years ago, we spoke to more than 2500 people living with chronic pain in Northern Ireland. It quickly came to light that there is a lack of pain services here, and that’s something we’ve been working with patients, professionals and the Health and Social Care service on.
Changes are beginning to happen, but there is more to do. Next week, the Northern Ireland Pain Summit takes place, with a host of speakers from near and far talking about pain and sharing learning. We are delighted that patients are part of event and will be informing professionals by sharing their powerful, personal experiences.
Patients are experts on their experience of Health and Social Care services, and professionals should always be listening to the people they care for.
To read or add comments, click here
As many people will be aware there is a developing trend for patients to have access to their own medical records. As medical records become available electronically each of us potentially could have access to our medical records in the same way that we book flights or do our online banking. Currently in England patients have access to electronic medical records and many find this empowering and beneficial.
However there are some challenges which need to be addressed. There is a concern that people might, on accessing their records read something that is worrying or unexpected. This should not happen if patients are fully informed about their treatment and care. Security of personal medical information is another concern. On a regular basis we hear about security breaches of personal information that is held centrally. It would be unacceptable if this were to happen to medical records. People would need to be reassured that there were robust systems in place to ensure that medical information that is held about them is secure and that access is limited and available by permission.
It’s Palliative Care Week, and during this time, people are encouraged to think about what care they would like for themselves and their families, if they had a serious illness.
Palliative care is special care for people with serious illnesses, such as heart failure, cancer or lung disease. It focuses on providing relief from symptoms, pain and stress. It can help patients understand their condition and treatment options, and help families cope with every day challenges.
Talking about death and dying is a very difficult thing to do. For many patients and families, getting the right support from people they trust, can help them talk about their fears and worries, and plan for their care. Creating the right time and space is key. Health care professionals also need support to help people to have these conversations.
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Courtesy of Client & Patient Council
Meet Robyn. She's 26, studying for a PhD in History and fighting a daily battle with pain.
'My problems started when my periods did, at the age of 13. After a few months my mum took me to the doctor about my irregular, heavy, painful periods and I was told it was just my lot in life. I was a woman, periods were meant to hurt.
Throughout my teenage years I was put on multiple contraceptive pills to help regulate my periods and had numerous scans and tests and quite a few misdiagnoses. I wasn’t even allowed to see a gynaecologist until I turned 18. At the age of 20, my pain changed from its monthly pattern to daily, crippling pelvic pain. I was constantly told the pain was all in my head, there was nothing medically wrong with me.
It wasn’t until I had argued my way into a laparoscopy three years ago that I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. Endo is a condition where tissues similar to those that line the uterus and shed each month are found elsewhere in the body, usually in the pelvis. The deposits of endometriosis don’t show up on scans and can only be seen with keyhole surgery. It can cause painful periods and ovulation, abnormal bleeding, pain during or after sex and infertility.
Dolores McBride, Support Worker, Huntington’s Disease Association Northern Ireland explains the challenges of caring for someone with Huntington’s Disease.
Huntington's Disease (HD) is an inherited condition that damages certain nerve cells in the brain. This brain damage gets progressively worse over time and can affect movement, cognition (perception, awareness, thinking, judgement) and behaviour.
Early features can include personality changes, mood swings, fidgety movements, irritability and altered behaviour, although these are often overlooked and attributed to something else. Approximately 130 people are known to be symptomatic with HD in Northern Ireland with more undiagnosed and many hundreds at risk of developing the disease. People live with the disease typically for 5-20 years from the onset of symptoms until they become entirely dependent losing the ability to move, speak or swallow unaided. There is no cure yet.
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