Sharing is Good for You

I have always felt it is good to share whether that be specific knowledge or just general life experiences. Before joining Scottish Care I worked for a number of years in nursing in both NHS and Independent Care settings where there was always some degree of sharing of knowledge between care professionals. I can remember the Clinical Team meetings from early in my nursing career with input from various members of staff being sought, these then seemed to expand into Multi -Disciplinary Team meetings with, as the name suggests, input from a wider range of health care professionals. No matter what title you called the group it all came down to sharing knowledge, experience, views and opinions.

Since joining Scottish Care in 2012 initially as a Development Officer, under the Reshaping Care for Older People Project, then as Integration Lead, I discovered that the sharing of experience and knowledge continued to be a recurring theme. At the various meetings different views from the various departments and groups would be heard and discussed before plans and decisions were made. Since Integration this sharing of experience, views and opinions still continues although perhaps not at as a high and consistent level that some of us in the Independent Sector would like. The sharing of good practice was something that the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport mentioned in her speech at the recent Scottish Care Annual Care Home Conference.

I would like to briefly describe what I consider to be a good practical example of sharing. This is not something that happened at a high strategical level but at a more basic level.

One of the two geographical areas I cover is Renfrewshire and in 2018 my Scottish Care colleague who works in East Renfrewshire and I decided we would facilitate a joint Care Inspectorate Quality Improvement event for both areas. This event would be not only for Independent Care providers but also for Partnership commissioning staff, care home staff and other interested persons. Invitations were duly sent out and one day in late August approximately 40 people from a variety of professional backgrounds turned up at Eastwood House near Rouken Glen for the event. We had representatives from both Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, staff from Independent Care Homes, from Independent Care at Home providers. From the Health and Social Care Partnerships we had commissioning staff, care home staff and care at home staff.  Members of the Care Inspectorate not directly involved in any of the day’s presentations also came along to participate.

The day comprised of 9 sessions which I will not go into in any detail, but covered topics such as the “History of Quality Improvement”, “What is an Improvement Collaborative Approach” plus ample time for group discussions. A recurring theme right from the icebreaker session through the day was that processes and improvements are better and more easily achieved by joint working, sharing knowledge and experiences. For me, and judging by the feedback from those attending, one of the main benefits of the event was the variety of different working backgrounds and experiences shared throughout the day.

Sharing good practice does not need to be complicated or difficult. I will share the words of one of the slides from the day regarding Collaborative Principles:

  • Everybody teaches
  • Everybody learns
  • Share generously (transparency)
  • Steal shamelessly
  • Acknowledge graciously

With regards to that last point of acknowledge graciously I would like to thank Aiden from the Care Inspectorate for all his work prior to and on the day and sharing his knowledge with us all.

Robert Telfer

Independent Sector Lead, West Lothian & Renfrewshire