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Values-based practice - Using the book, He Died Waiting, as a learning tool


The book, He Died Waiting: Learning the lessons - a bereaved mother's view of mental health services by Caroline Aldridge (2020), and the postcards with quotes from it, can be used in many ways to help students and practitioners to develop reflexiveness, empathy, and values-based practice. This resource provides materials for two, 50 minute – 1 hour, workshops. These activities are perfect for students and practitioners across health and social care. These resources can be adapted for use in 1:1 supervisions, larger groups, or other audiences. For example, they could be used with patient/service-user participation representatives and/or carers to explore their experiences and what values-based behaviours they would like to see from professionals.


To assist practice educators and mentors, and student or newly qualified social workers or nurses, it is indicated where the activities might provide evidence for social work’s Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) (BASW, 2018) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) The Code (professional standards and behaviours) (2015).


He Died Waiting Postcard Activity

There are 8 postcards in each set (available from www.learningsocialworker.com). For this activity we have chosen 5 of the postcards from Set 1 to use in group discussions. For each we have suggested some prompt questions. You might wish to print out the activity and create cards or a worksheet from it.

NB: The activity could be undertaken as 5 (10 minute) starter or plenary activity in teaching sessions, team meetings, supervisions, or workshops.

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“Love, like compassion, are human necessities that keep us in the realms of kindness.”


· What does compassion and professional love look like in your placement, work setting or organisation?

· What are the challenges and benefits of practising with love, compassion, and kindness?


Evidences:

PCF - 1 (professionalism) , 2 (values and ethics), and 7 (skills and interventions).

NMC code – 1.1 (treat people with kindness, respect and compassion)


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“The files record his life in a way that misses the point of him. There is no recognition of his intelligence, his caring nature, his resilience, or his value to his friends and family.”


· How do you (will you) ensure that your recording captures the whole person?


· What are the barriers to recording holistically?


· What are the benefits to the patient/service-user and professionals of recording the positive aspects of someone’s life?


Evidences:

PCF - 7 (skills and interventions)

NMC code –2.2 (recognise and respect the contribution that people can make to their own health and wellbeing), 3 (make sure that people’s physical, social and psychological needs are assessed and responded to), and 10 (keep clear and accurate records relevant to your practice).


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“Some people are deemed to be of so little worth that their lives (and their deaths) are mere whispers but his whispered life echoes loudly in the hearts of those who loved him.”


· How can you ‘speak loudly’ for the patients/service-users you work with?


· How do you/could you support the people who use services to ‘speak loudly’?


· Can you think of an example in placement, work setting, or organisation where you have spoken up (or supported someone else to do this)? How could you do more?


Evidences:

PCF – 4 (rights, justice and economic wellbeing), 7 (skills and interventions).

NMC code- 3.4 (act as an advocate for the vulnerable, challenging poor practice and discriminatory attitudes and behaviour relating to their care), 16 (act without delay if you believe that there is a risk to patient safety or public protection).


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“The situation is not hopeless. There are things we can do. If everyone committed to doing their own tiny bit things could change.”


· How have you influenced change in your placement, work setting, or organisation? Or, how do you plan to influence change?


· Thinking about your own role, what are the barriers to influencing change?


· What could be the benefits to the people who use services if everyone committed to promoting positive change?


Evidences:

PCF - 8 (contexts and organisations) and 9 (professional leadership).

NMC code – 9 (share your skills, knowledge and experience for the benefit of people receiving care and your colleagues), 25 (provide leadership to make sure people’s wellbeing is protected and to improve their experiences of the health and care system).


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“Eloquent words are not inspirational, or believable, unless they are accompanied by actions.”


· What action have you taken this week in your placement, work setting, or organisation that shows patients or service-users that you are believable?


· What were the challenges in taking this action? How did you overcome them? Where there any conflicts?


· How did the patient/service-user feel about your action? How do you know that?


Evidences:

PCF – 2 (values and ethics) and 7 (skills and interventions).

NMC code - 3 (make sure that people’s physical, social and psychological needs are assessed and responded to).


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He Died Waiting is a call to action in memory of Tim (a young man who lost his life). Readers of the book are invited to make a pledge of what they plan to do to nurture and protect the mental health of others as a #PledgeForTim


At the end of this activity – on the basis of your discussions and reflections, what pledge will you make? If possible share this pledge with others to inspire them. One way is to post on Twitter using the hashtags #HeDiedWaiting and #PledgeFor Tim and to tag in @waiting_he


Permission from the author has been given to use the He Died Waiting postcards for educational purposes provided the following citation is used:

Aldridge, C (2020). He Died Waiting: Learning the lessons- a bereaved mother’s view of mental health services, postcards. Norwich. Learning Social Worker Publications.


He Died Waiting Chapter Activity

Either before, or at the start, of the workshop, students or practitioners read the short chapter Ignorance (is bliss?) (appendix 1). In this chapter, Caroline describes her family background and the things that influenced her understanding of mental illness before she became a parent.


Discussion afterwards relates to PCF 1 (professionalism) and 6 (critical reflection and analysis) or NMC code 1.3 (avoid making assumptions and recognise diversity and individual choice) and 20.7 (make sure you do not express your personal beliefs (including political, religious or moral beliefs) to people in an inappropriate way). Reflective discussions should focus on developing self-awareness around the way that ‘family scripts’ and upbringing impact on our values, beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions.


Questions used as prompts for discussion could be:

· How did you feel reading this chapter? Why do you think you felt that way?

· What were your ‘family scripts’ (values, beliefs, attitudes) in relation to mental health difficulties and drug and alcohol misuse?

· Were these explicit or implicit? How did you absorb these as you were growing up?

· What was the influence of your ‘family scripts’ on you as a child? What, or who, do you think influenced these scripts?

· Now, as an adult have you might have altered/adapted your ‘family scripts’ about mental health difficulties, drug and alcohol misuse, and if so why and how?

· In your current placement, work setting, or organisation, what do you notice in your own reactions to working with patients or service-users that may be a result of your childhood family scripts or your adapted ‘family scripts’?

· What do you notice about the reactions of patients/service-users, carers, or professionals about the way their ‘family scripts’ influence them? Or indeed wider societal scripts?

· Having read this chapter, and discussed and reflected on the influence of childhood and family attitudes to mental health difficulties and drug and alcohol misuse, how will you use any insight gained in your practice?


He Died Waiting is a call to action in memory of Tim (a young man who lost his life). Readers of the book are invited to make a pledge of what they plan to do to nurture and protect the mental health of others as a#PledgeForTim


At the end of this activity – on the basis of your discussions and reflections, what pledge will you make? If possible share this pledge with others to inspire them. One way is to post on Twitter using the hashtags #HeDiedWaiting and #PledgeFor Tim and to tag in @waiting_he


This resource was created by Caroline Aldridge (social work lecturer and author) and Claire Skilleter (social work practice education lead). For other resources please see www.learningsocialworker.com. Caroline can be contacted via caroline.aldridgesw@yahoo.com or Twitter (@waiting_he)


References:

Aldridge, C (2020). He Died waiting: Learning the lessons- a bereaved mother’s view of mental health services. Norwich. Learning Social Worker Publications.


BASW (British Association of Social Workers (2018).Professional Capabilities Framework. Available at www.basw.co.uk/professional-development/professional-capabilities-framework-pcf/the-pcf/entry. Accessed 3rdJanuary 2020.


Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2015). The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates. Available at:www.nmc.org.uk/standards/code/. Accessed 3rdJanuary 2020.



Appendix 1: Ignorance (is bliss?) chapter from He Died Waiting

The author has granted permission for this chapter to be copied and shared for educative purposes provided the following citation is included:


Aldridge, C (2020). He Died Waiting: Learning the lessons- a bereaved mother’s view of mental health services. Norwich. Learning Social Worker Publications.


Ignorance (is bliss?)

My maternal grandmother was from the East End of London. Nann