Making it Real - a system for change

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About twelve years ago, I was involved in discussions with a local authority and clinical commissioning group to agree good support for my dad, who had dementia.

A day centre was the only support on offer. No doubt, this provision worked for some, and still does, but it failed spectacularly to provide meaningful support for my dad and our family. Not because there was anything wrong with the centre; it just wasn’t what he wanted or needed.

The family implored health and social care colleagues to support him to do things he loved and that had meaning for him, which in his case meant attending festivals and concerts, visiting galleries and going swimming. It seemed we were asking for the impossible.

More than a decade later, what has changed? Can people who access services say that they are living the life they want, and doing the things that are important to them, as independently as possible?

This should be a straightforward outcome, and it’s an outcome that we know to be essential to our wellbeing. Yet, for too many people who require support, it remains very challenging to live the life they want to lead. Making it Real helps organisations overcome these challenges so that the people who are using services are empowered to lead the life that is important to them.

There is no doubting the profound push for transformation across our health and social care system. Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) has always believed that genuine transformation requires new relationships and new conversations. Making it Real provides a framework to develop these and can lead to a more equal power-sharing arrangement, where people acknowledge the expertise of the ‘professionals’ and, similarly, people are recognised as experts in their own life. It can help dissolve the hard border that exists between what the system thinks is needed and what the person knows to be important to them.

By TLAP Head, Caroline Speirs. The full article appeared in Care Managment Matters.