by Nicola Payne, Health and Families Manager
It is well known that people with a learning disability are more likely to live with other health conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, dementia and dysphasia. MacIntyre’s Health Team plays a crucial role in ensuring good health and well-being for the people who draw on our support. The Health Team wants everyone to be treated fairly and have the best health outcomes.
In this article, Nicola Payne, Health and Families Manager, reflects on the year just gone.
Wow, where do I begin, what a year 2023 has been, leading the Health Team's agenda and vision and making such wonderful progress in the support we provide. I am lucky to work alongside Meg Wilding, Rachel Furniss, and Rosie Joustra and also our amazing external consultant Beth Britton.
The team has grown since the beginning of 2023, which has allowed us to be more present both in people's homes and virtually, supporting and encouraging wherever possible.
So let me scrabble through my head and share a few great achievements from 2023
Dying To Talk
What an interesting 18 months we had supporting people to feel less afraid to talk about death and dying, to feel more confident, and to start planning for their end of life. We have the whole story in our end-of-project report that you can read here and accompanying article.
We continue into 2024 and beyond to support as many people as possible to talk and think in ways that make sense to them about death and dying.
Dementia Support is always a big team focus as we are supporting people living longer and also support many people who live with Down Syndrome who we know are more likely to get a diagnosis of dementia at a much younger age. The more awareness work we do the better and the team will always provide a bespoke offer of support for each person. Read this blog that shares some great top tips on supporting people to lead their best lives.
We were approached by NHS England and Dementia UK to co-produce a film about living with Dementia and a Learning Disability. We asked expert by experience Rosie Joustra if this was something she would like to do to which Rosie said “Ohhh yes!” We had a great day filming. The result sits in the Dementia Resource Suite on the LeDeR website and you can watch the film below:
The team share their highlights
Let's hear from some of the health team sharing their best bits from 2023.
A personal highlight of 2023 for me has been working with Nicky on supporting MacIntyre services where individuals are living with dementia. This included visits to people’s homes over the summer, and it was wonderful to put faces to names and meet and chat with people supported and staff members. It is an immense privilege to be invited into someone’s home and these are always such warm and welcoming experiences.
Being able to provide bespoke support for staff to help them unpick complex needs for individuals - enabling them to provide more optimal care - is one of the most rewarding parts of my role with MacIntyre. So much learning goes on in these visits to help staff with their practice, and with my communications hat on it was great to be able to share some of this with the wider MacIntyre family and the whole of the social care sector through my September blog.
This work remains ongoing, and alongside this highly personalised support for MacIntyre teams I urge everyone within MacIntyre and the wider social care sector to keep an eye out for our 2024 Dementia Special Interest Group meetings. These are fantastic learning opportunities and free to all!
Beth Britton, Freelance Consultant
A highlight for me this year is to see the Health Team grow. I have sat in the Best Practice team with many different hats on; Administrator for Dementia Project, Co-Pro member, Support Worker, Easy Read Creator, and many more. I wanted to learn more and have always been passionate about the health and wellbeing of people who draw on our support so I was delighted to be successful in becoming a Health & Wellbeing Facilitator in March. I’m thrilled that with increased capacity we have reached many more services and built on new and existing relationships. We have been able to offer more support and more workshops. I believe we have grown so much as a team this year and will continue to grow in 2024!
Meg Wilding – Health & Wellbeing Facilitator
My highlight of the year is the creation of our bespoke workshops, resources and social media presence. I feel the health team has made a difference this year and I look forward to the impact we will have next year and the resources that will be created. My main highlight is the constipation awareness sessions I have facilitated this year and the number of staff that weren’t aware of the consequences of constipation, so far, we have trained 83 staff.
Rachel Furniss – Health & Wellbeing Facilitator
So what's next? Our work from 2023 continues, and we will add a few new topics and opportunities which you will hear about over the next few months. We want to have a big impact and work with as many people as we can, including people with lived experiences to work alongside the team.
We think about our MacIntyre DNA a lot and we want to keep learning, hearing people's voices, and importantly be ambitious, which we promise is what we will be doing. Bring on 2024, the health team are ready!