At the Heart of Health

NESTA REPORT

I was very excited to hear that the RIPPLE Project, which emerged from a couple of workshops I facilitated in 2014 for the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (in partnership with Coventry University, the British Lung Foundation and local voluntary sector groups in Coventry), is beginning to gain momentum as a prime example of a “Person- and Community-centred approach for Health and Wellbeing.

Yesterday I facilitated a similar workshop in Wolverhampton of 45 patients, matrons, GPS, Hospice workers, Chaplaincy, fire service, community trust, Age UK & voluntary sector to bring together a community (and their assets) as part of a bid to become part of a second tier of six further similar projects in the West Midlands.

Anyway we found out that on Tuesday NESTA, the independent charity that works to increase the innovation capacity of the UK, had published its latest report entitled At the Heart of Health – Realising the value of people and communities, and that the RIPPLE Project was being held as a great example of enabling group activities that can be beneficial to support health and wellbeing.

What they highlight about the RIPPLE Project is:

Group activities in practice: RIPPLE – Respiratory innovation: Promoting a Positive Life Experience

People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) experience chronic ill health and are at risk of early death. The symptoms of COPD, including breathlessness and coughing, can lead to and amplify anxiety, low self-esteem and social isolation. These in turn lower mental wellbeing and can result in both poor self-management and a lack of engagement with key treatments, such as smoking cessation and pulmonary rehabilitation. People can become trapped in a negative cycle where poor self-management leads to worsening symptoms.

As part of the Health Foundation 2014 Shine Programme, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust took a whole systems approach to this challenge. A broad partnership was set up involving local patients and carers, primary and secondary care clinicians, academics, public health professionals, and third sector organisations to discuss and develop innovative solutions to the social isolation and anxiety observed in individuals with COPD.

After consultation with people living with COPD, the partners decided that an informal community-based clinic would act as a catalyst for increased involvement. This evolved into a group model which blended informal clinic and education sessions with social activities such as bingo, quizzes, singing and seated yoga every Monday afternoon in a community centre.

Results included:

  • Reduced social isolation and anxiety.
  • Increased mental wellbeing.
  • Improved confidence in ability to self-manage.

Preliminary evidence – involving a small number of patients – suggests that attending the RIPPLE programme regularly may reduce the number of unplanned hospital admissions. The patients involved in RIPPLE are chronically ill and as such, you would normally expect their condition to deteriorate, leading to an increase rather than a decrease in hospital admissions. The RIPPLE team has secured additional funding through the Health Foundation’s Spreading Improvement programme which will allow these findings to be further explored.

“Coming here, well, it’s given me a social life I didn’t have before…I feel like a fraud coming here now because I feel so good.”

A couple of other quotes from the report which is probably obvious why they appeal to me are:

In essence, asset-based approaches for health and wellbeing seek to create approaches that are participatory, enabling people to lead action for health, and are underpinned by a focus on what makes us healthy.

As with many community-centred approaches, this is an area where practice on the ground is ahead of the academic research. There is a lack of systematic or review-level academic evidence about asset-based approaches for health and wellbeing.

To date, evidence of effectiveness on asset-based approaches in the UK is limited to a few local, emergent solutions within particular contexts, with little practical guidance on how to put them into practice at scale.

The entire NESTA report can be accessed and downloaded here and is highly recommended.

Storytelling For Problem Solving & Better Decision Making

I have just been confirmed as speaker and seminar facilitator at the next NETIKX event in London on Tuesday afternoon 22nd March 2016. My challenge for the day is to demonstrate just what Participatory Narrative Inquiry methods can bring to resolving issues and problems and improving decision making.

NETIKX

If you have never heard of them before NetIKX is the Network for Information and Knowledge Exchange and with a membership fee of only £60 per annum which includes free admission to this and another five similar events over the year, you would be a fool not to join immediately. At London prices the wine alone is worth it.

Review your Flood Plan & lessons learned now

Special 2016 fixed price offer

A fully facilitated Flood Review and Action Planning workshop

floodpic

Have you and your community been flooded, are you worried about the risk of flooding in the future or just wish to make sure you are prepared for the worst?

If you want to inform and influence government policy, funding, national and local action, it is essential to get together and explore options and ideas as soon as possible.

Drawing on my experience of Knowledge Sharing and Inventive Problem Solving I have put together a facilitated workshop that can easily be adapted to suit the specific needs of your community/organisation or local authority.

All you need provide is the participants, a room/space and refreshments.

Whatever your stage in the cycle I can deliver a workshop to meet your current needs.

Consider which of the following you would wish to focus on and email me now for a price and further details.

1. Lessons learned – sharing and capturing stories and insights before they are forgotten.

2. Creating a flood plan (including resource map)

3. Problem solving

4. Creating a flood risk plan

5. Building local cohesion before the next flood.

Putting the workshop together was inspired by this slideshare pack of Analytics to advise a business in Leeds created by Ian Abbot Donnelly, a good friend of mine.

contact details

Ecology of Knowledge Menu V1 front

I have finally managed to create a menu of services that I am happy with. Click on either image to enlarge. The PDF version can be downloaded here, a version complete with prices is available on request..

Ecology of Knowledge Menu V1 no pricesand yes, before you ask, I do have 25 years experience of providing discos and music quizzes so why not end (or punctuate) your event with a participatory musical high.

Welcome to Narratopia, the story sharing game

DSCF0279

During one of our regular PNI skype chats, Cythia (Kurtz) happened to mention a new game she had created and was prototyping. Called Narratopia and now launched with its own website here but with a full explanation of the rules and ideas behind the game here. I quickly offered to be a guinea pig and a few days later, an airmailed pack arrived at my door.

I mentioned it to my friend Ian and he suggested a game in the Bainton Reading Room which is in a local village just to the North West of Peterborough. We had used this venue for a recent (local) Ted talks evening about storytelling..

Last week we all met up, a nice blue chequered table cloth and very nice red wine and the group of 5 of us set off playing.

It was a very interesting experience all round. We all thought we would just be sharing our own often told stories. The first story was one about an elderly parent in a care home being bought a mobility scooter. A great story that revealed a lot about the storyteller. My question card said “How do you feel about…” and I added “giving such freedom and mobility to your dad”. What followed was a period of deep thought and a true outpouring of emotion and warmth. The other questions were about quite technical and practical aspects of the story. At the end of this round my question was voted by far the best because “it really made me think about our relationship and remember those days so clearly”.

In writing this post I have just checked Cynthia’s blog about Narratopia and was pleased to read her comment about the games intent:

I realized that what should matter most in the game are connections and explorations, because that’s what people do when they share stories. They connect their experiences together, and they explore what their experiences mean.

DSCF0281

The game was deemed a great success by us all. Two hours of non-stop conversation and storytelling, linking stories and exploring our innermost feelings, loosely constrained and helped along by the questions and link cards. I collated everyone’s feedback and sent the pictures and comments to Cynthia in order to improve the playability of the game.

DSCF0292

Oh, and for the record my friend Ian won, so he is now the reigning champion of Bainton, Great Britain and, I think (as it was the first game played here) Europe. So what better prize for a European Narratopia Champion than a bottle of Whitby Heritage real ale.

Get your early order in now to Cythia as I think the first batch will sell out very quickly.