On Tuesday 11th June 2019, we held our annual ‘Sharing Best Practice’ event at Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire.
The theme of this year’s conference was ‘The Importance of Good Communication’ and all presentations and focus groups were centred around communication and the effects of both good and bad communication with colleagues and external stakeholders.
The full list of presentations included:
- Why Good Communication is Important – Joy Chamberlain, CEO
- Person Centred Communication; Tools and Techniques – Gateway Recovery Centre
- Breakouts: Operational Shift Leads – Bradley Complex Care, Quality Action Group – Elysium Care Partnerships (South East), Giving Capacity a Chance with a Language Difficulty – Adderley Green, Improved Stakeholder Communication – The Copse, Communication Sunburst Scheme – St Mary’s and All Saints, Communicating Equality and Diversity – The Limes, Morning Meetings and Protected Time – Field House, The Patient Representative – Rosebank House
- “Send three and fourpence, we’re going to a dance” – Business Development Team
- Breakouts: Staff-Patient Communication and Safewards – Ty Grosvenor, Community Communication – Phoenix House, Communication and Working Together: Our Learning Curve – Brighton & Hove CAMHS Eating Disorder Service,Family Carers – Badby Park
- PAT Dogs: Building Relationships and Encouraging Communication – St Neots
- Increasing Staff Morale and Wellbeing – Chadwick Lodge
During her opening of the conference, CEO Joy Chamberlain said,
“For Elysium, only the best is good enough. Our work impacts people and what we do really does matter – we have some fantastic practices so let’s share them! We have a strong ethos of co-production which is improving all the time. We have strong relationships with NHS and CCGs – we are developing services to meet the needs of the people we care for and they truly are at the heart of what we do.”
Siobhan and Alison from Gateway Recovery Centre’s presentation, ‘Person Centred Communication; Tools and Techniques’ provided some really interesting insight into how communications can be adapted to better suit each individual. Firstly, Siobhan and Alison discussed adapting ward round meetings for patients with communication difficulties by using simple language and visual aids to remind them what was agreed. Secondly, a communication dictionary can be used for those who have lost the use of language or who have very subtle or individual non verbal ways of communicating. The personalised dictionary outlines how each person understands and expresses themselves. Talking Mats were third on the list. Alison is a Talking Mats trainer and has used them with great success. The mats increase patients’ ability to communicate effectively about things such as ‘what I like to eat/drink’ or ‘what activity I would like to do’. Lastly, comic strip conversations were discussed – they support people who struggle to understand the quick exchange of a traditional conversation and slow it down so they are able to explore their thoughts and feelings. Patients can take the lead in drawing their own pictures or be prompted by staff or carers.
Throughout the day, delegates were given the option to choose from various breakout focus groups, each with different topics. One of the focus groups from The Limes discussed the different ways that the service embeds Equality and Diversity into daily life. Some methods include Real Work Opportunities (one service user is a paid gardener and another service user is responsible for organising and collecting newspapers for the site from a local shop.)
The Limes has very strong community links which were highlighted during their presentation, in particular the weekly community meetings that the service users are a part of, as well as the local Community College courses that they are able to undertake. It was clear to see how much these strong community links promote empowerment and involvement.
“Communication is absolutely key. We as a management team are going to try even harder to create better communication – it’s about everybody talking and everybody listening.”Joy Chamberlain, CEO
As in previous years, we enlisted the help of Ada Jusic Illustration to provide a visual representation of the day that will be copied and sent to each staff member as a reminder of the importance of clear and concise communication, and the impact that this has on service users and their families.
To see the live tweets of the day, follow us on Twitter or search for #EHSBP19