Susan Kelso AHP Lead Early Intervention (Scottish Government)
I started out my adult working life as a care assistant in an Eventide Home – as they were called back then. Our residents were much fitter than people living in care homes or being supported by care at home staff today. At training sessions we used to speak about ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ work – where the former was about tasks and activities that were easy to identify and describe – often involving ‘doing things’ for people or carrying out ‘housekeeping’ tasks. Whereas work described as ‘invisible’ was much harder to describe and define – often because it was very individual to each resident and tended to be about the relationship you had with the person and what mattered to them. It often involved stepping back and having a conversation. Not easy to quantify or see as immediately being ‘busy’!
Today we recognise the value of having conversations with people – finding out what matters to them, finding out how best to support them with whatever that is. This forms the basis of current policy around building community and individual strengths for health and well being, and underpins legislation which puts the person at the heart of health and social care. And yet, with pressures on hospital services – both planned and emergency – all too often staff supporting people can find themselves still ‘doing to’ with tasks and activities for the person.
I decided to train as an AHP whilst working in my first job, and have subsequently worked in both health and social care. I am now working in Scottish Government as the national AHP Lead for Early Intervention. This is an exciting post as it gives me the opportunity to carry on work I have been involved in for about 9 years – how to give people personalised help, information, advice and signposting to enable them to be as active and independent as possible for as long as possible. Of course ageing is inevitable, but how we age is not – we can shape how we age – with the right information, advice and support we can make the most of our circumstances and keep active, healthy and independent which will help us have a better experience of ageing.
This is a major theme of our AHP national Active and Independent Living Programme (AILP). By finding out where people are on their own Lifecurve™ – by asking which of the 15 activities of daily living they can or can’t do without help – we will have better conversations with people about what matters to them in keeping active, healthy and independent. We can then work in partnership – with people themselves and with colleagues across the sectors to support people with the right kind of intervention – including what kind of support people want at the end stages of their life.
It is very exciting to see Scottish Care collaborating with the Lifecurve™ work – the results that you will add to the existing 15,000 responses will really help shape health and social care services – so they are focused on individuals and what matters to them – and encourages active, healthy and independent living for as long as possible.
This blog was first published by Susan on Scottish Care