Personalisation: Art for everyone’s sake

Featured article - 22 November 2016
By Vic Rayner, Executive Director, National Care Forum

Head-shot of the author, Vic Rayner, Executive Director, National Care Forum

If you asked me to guess the learning style of most managers within the care sector - I would plump for a combination of ‘Activist’, learning by doing – and ‘Pragmatist’, the down to earth problem solver. At the recent NCF managers conference we built on this assumption by introducing a fantastic Arts Festival where managers could both ‘have a go’ and work through the practicalities of whether it would work for their residents and services. If you want to take a sneak peek at this short clip of the festival – you will see what I mean!

I have a passion for understanding how people learn, having spent many years creating and delivering training and learning programmes, and so I was very interested to hear about the new personalisation and residential care homes hub that SCIE is developing. Personalisation has been at the heart of much of the fundamental change to the provision of social care services in the last decade, and the strategic and operational focus on the development of person centred care has been critical.

However, there are huge challenges affecting providers of services, and equally carers and people using services. This means that there are risks in relying on the passage of personalisation to continue in the same vein. New home developments favour larger resident numbers, shortfalls in technological take up mean a hard pressed system is still very reliant on paper based time consuming record keeping, growing numbers of complexity require more intense one to one health orientated connection. None of these pressures, of course, mean that providers need to offer anything less than a fully personalised service, but they all have the potential to make it more difficult.

I have the privilege in my role of visiting a wide range of excellent services across the country, gleaning ideas and models which I then can share more widely within the sector. This is a luxury, I know, and I’m interested in the notion of a learning hub, perhaps hosted by SCIE, where good practice examples, videos, learning tools and action planning co-exist sounds like an excellent option to sustain and grow the vision for personalisation. It is only by keeping a sustained focus on the voices of those people using services, and the use resources such as those designed by SCIE to support the co-design of services fit for the future that social care will continue to learn about just how transformational personalisation can be.

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