When life is unreal, how are we Making it Real?

In this strange new world, what can Making it Real offer? Charlie Crabtree and Richard O'Malley from KeyRing offer some ideas.

When we signed up to TLAP’s Making It Real framework we were inspired to find ways to make our support more personalised. 18 months on and we are still delivering personalised support only now in a lockdown situation, who knew!

KeyRing support around 1,000 people to build their independence. The vast majority live alone. Through networks of support, people are connected with their community and each other. Support is tailored and flexible.

The Making it Real framework focusses on six themes for good personalised support. Here we focus on two and the adaptations we’ve made.

Having the information I need, when I need it.

The right information at the right time.

People needed to understand the gravity of the situation. This would help them understand the reasons behind physical distancing rules. 

We borrowed excellent accessible information from colleagues in the advocacy field. We shared information through post, email, website, calls, social media. We continue to do this.

Our guiding rule has been honesty. There are many questions we can’t answer and we say so. Instead we tell people how they can stay safe.

Online hubs and teleconferences provide a place where people can share information and support each other. Having a friend tell you that bleach is for cleaning your loo not your insides in a jokey meme gets the message across clearly.

My support, my own way

Delivering support in a lockdown becomes a juggling act. Is it more of a risk to see someone face-to-face than not? What do they want and is it possible? Are staff fit and well to deliver that support?

At times, it feels like we’ve moved backwards. Supporting people to do things for themselves, that’s us. Yet now, we are doing it for them! Things like shopping and collecting prescriptions when it’s not safe for them to do so themselves.

We are using telephone support more often and increasing contact. Some people prefer video chat. This can help, especially if they have confusing mail or we are concerned about their living environment.

We continue to see people we cannot support remotely. People who will not answer the phone or who have communication issues. Or those we know will not tell us honestly how they are getting on. Our teams tell us they know instinctively who they must see face-to-face. This is under constant review alongside the individual.

“Stop calling me so often!” one person said.

It’s easy to take good support for granted until you need it. Let’s face it we all need a bit of support now. Much of what we do is to remind people that we’re here and that Covid-19 will not stop us.

Charlie Crabtree, Marketing & Communications Manager at KeyRing and Richard O’Malley, Support Manager at KeyRing.


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