Today, I was talking with Gemma who works on my ward. She has been helping me develop One Page Profiles of staff and patients, that is, one-page summaries of who we are, what we are interested-in, how to work with us. This is something invented by Helen Sanderson, an expert in Person Centred Care, based in Stockport.
We have been using the profiles to help us better understand who we are and share information about ourselves as a team, for we are more than the narrow roles we occupy at work – healthcare or service assistant, nurse; just as with the document This Is Me which the Alzheimer’s Society has developed and is in use nationally to support clinical staff better understand their patients – what helps them, what interests them, where they grew-up, who are their family.
You see, along with the ever-growing complexity that is modern health and social care – exponentially increasingly sophisticated models of disease, care, cure and treatment, there has been a silent revolution happening, that of Person-Centred Care.
This is not new to my colleagues in General Practice or those working in the Care Home sector – they have been doing this for years, whilst we, in the hospitals have been burdening ourselves with science and technology, our peers have been hanging on to people.
As I have previously written and quoted Jon Kabat-Zinn – so long as we are still breathing, there is more right than wrong with us; just as with disease – most of me isn’t diseased; even a person at the end of their life, overcome with cancer, is still more the person who has inhabited that body, who has lived a life of experience, happiness and sorrow than the disease process that is threatening their existence.
This revolution struggles at times to take-hold in the hospital; bed pressures, budgetary measures, targets and demand all push us into a corner where it is easier to objectify a person. It is easier to move ‘bed 8’ than disrupt the life of Gladys who fell at home three days ago.
And so, we have changed the relationship, the balance – we have turned the tables and created versions of This Is Me, in the form of One Page Profiles about the staff, which we will share with each other, in order to topple the narrow definitions of who we are, what is more, we plan to share condensed versions of these profiles with our patients. Why would we not want them to know who we are, what interests us, what makes us us, for once we become people and the patients become people, the whole balance of power shifts, the relationships change and we can start to see each other more clearly and with greater understanding.