At the King’s Fund event on integrated care for older people with frailty this week it was encouraging to see engagement from so many different areas towards a common goal. People with expertise in health, social care, commissioning, third sector, and crucially carers themselves, led and contributed to discussion all around the common goal of providing the highest quality of care.
Turning ideas and strong will into practice is challenging, but the patience and dedication of everyone involved is impressive. The body of statistical evidence showing that connecting the dots has tangible benefits is growing. Through our own research in Project IntegrAAL we will be assessing what measureable impact effective communication links and care pathways can make to quality of life.
It was interesting to note that the most popular tweet of the day was not one of statistics or costs, but a diagram shared in a brilliant talk by Karen Goudie about work carried out in Scotland to improve care for older people in acute care. The slide showed a simple diagram, from a real person, about “What Matters to Me”. Because at the end of all the figures and costs and competing needs for limited commissioning budgets, is a real person. What matters to that person is unique to them – whether relating to health, independence, family or anything else. With staff pushed for time, finding a few minutes to try and understand those needs, with all the barriers making that task so difficult, is far from easy. Yet when what matters to a person is identified, suddenly the fog lifts and the reason we all do what we do becomes clear. Clearly the slide resonated. We are all people, and we all have things that matter to us. When it comes to care, we are all on the same side. We are all trying to make sure people get the good care they deserve, and to do that we need to understand what they care about, no matter how big or small.
Our mission is to design ways of putting people, and those things that matter to them, right in the centre.