Posted by: ayrshirehealth | May 14, 2014

The complexity of caring by @dorothy_DAprof

Relationship Based Care

I am intrigued about the complexity of care, as my career has brought new opportunities and I have become a carer to my Mum. The experience has undoubtedly given me a new perspective and a deeper and richer understanding of vulnerability and compassion.screen-capture-8

Working with staff in Care Homes, as part of the My Home Life* has opened up a new genre of learning and helped me appreciate alternative ways of working including appreciative inquiry and relationship based care. Recently in a workshop, one of the participants told us how proud she was of being a carer and the difference she could make. I felt humbled and wonder how often we truly understand and appreciate the work of carers.

Humanity – the common denominator

What elements make care great? Of course we know our NHS promotes excellence and we are privileged to have healthcare delivered by competent staff who ensure world leading patient safety. However, in my view all the latter has to be delivered with care, compassion and kindness. SPSOThe common denominator is humanity. Jim Martin, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman shares my concerns about the gulf between the rhetoric and reality of person centred care. In seeking final justice for people who complain, we are struck with the observation that very often people complain because of the lack of care and compassion.

Of course my experience as a carer can endorse all the above, because what is important to both my Mum and I are the little things which make a big difference. I appreciate people remembering my name and my Mum loves staff to talk to her about her granchildren or brush her hair.Hair brush

What are the things that are important to your patients/relatives and carers? You may be surprised by the responses as for many people what’s significant to them are often the things we take for granted like choosing when to get up or go to bed.

I cannot even imagine life without autonomy. Yet for many people being cared for in hospital or in a care home, simple choices are taken away .

Shed your professional armour

My challenge is to invite you to shed your professional armour and seek out feedback and be prepared to listen and learn. Yes care is complex, yet we can all provide great care by asking brave questions which will undoubtedly strengthen communication and as a result enhance relationships.

This week’s blog was by @dorothy_DAprof (Dorothy Armstrong) who is Professional Adviser to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, Visiting Fellow and Course Leader for Person Centred Care in Practice at the University of Edinburgh and NLP Practitioner.

*My Home Life is a National Programme led in Scotland by Professor Belinda Dewar, which aims to improve the quality of life and relationships for everyone living, dying, visiting or working in a Care Home.


  1. Dorothy- your blog is so true. We seem unable to truly unserstand other people’s perspective- and it’s only when we can will we get it right

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