Participating in a FolksLab

Participating in a FolksLab at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare – Susie Peachey, Delivery Support Manager – Person Centred Care and Support, NHS Improving Quality

I followed the crowd into the glass room at the back of the hall full of anticipation – there were people dressed in lab coats, coloured wigs and funny glasses and I honestly wondered what I was getting myself into!

When Helen Bevan from NHS Improving Quality and Goran Henriks from Jonkoping, Sweden gave a quick video intro on ‘how to ignite a revolution in your organisation’, I began to feel even more apprehensive!

Caroline Fruberg and Agata Rukat introduced the topic areas for discussion. I chose the topic ‘the revolution in care for older people’ from the 5 offered as the one I was most interested in – the others were:  improvements in primary care, spreading change, person-centred care and clinical innovation. In my team were an ex-colleague from NHS Improving Quality, a doctor from Europe and a directorate lead from a big UK hospital.  Names are not important here, you just need to be open to the others in your team.

So, the process begins in a fairly straightforward fashion, with us working in pairs for about ten mins, to listen to the partners’ problem or challenge in the chosen subject area, and then reflect that in a brief written statement (Susie’s challenge is…..) and then we had to start drawing! Now ok, I am up for anything (within reason!), but my drawing skills do leave a little to be desired. Pictionary was never my best game! And five!! We had to draw five (yes five) different approaches to the challenge. I don’t have any photos of the drawings, but suffice it to say when we came to the next part of joining back up as a team, none of my drawings were chosen (possibly because no one could tell what they were?!?!) And also because we were encouraged to pick out the more wild and whacky ideas to polish up, and of course, mine were pretty run-of- the-mill really!

Anyway, we gained consensus on an idea as a team and then were presented with various craft materials such as balloons, coloured pipe cleaners, crayons, sticky tape, pens, toilet roll holders, glitter, coloured straws, cardboard, scissors (yes, I know, shouldn’t be given to small children or Susie!) and so forth……………… and we proceeded to ‘create’ our idea for revolution in care for older people, which resulted in… ta-dah #happycare

Folkslab model

Folkslab model

Now, I feel compelled to explain ………………An older person, clearly holding onto a glittery zimmer frame  (hmmph!) is being taught computer (the white pipe cleaner- very realistic looking PC!) skills by a young person from a local scout/guide group etc. whilst in hospital, but equally, this could be extended into community activity to alleviate the isolation of older people.

Well, we thought with some caveats and planning, this could really work and the European doctor took this back with her to work up into a real intervention- success!!!

What a great way to harness ideas quickly and use the brain power of others to start to bring them to life and really get things moving rapidly towards a proposal for change to PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act).

Susie Peachey, Delivery Support Manager – Person Centred Care and Support, NHS Improving Quality


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