Tanya Clover, head of dementia and personalisation for Porthaven Care Homes, looks at how, when setting out to enable and support those living with dementia, providers can best measure their ‘success’
Have you ever been deep into a project or programme only to find yourself suddenly questioning if you have lost sight of what you were originally trying to achieve? Donald Schön, philosopher and pioneer of critical reflection in practice, warned of the disconnect between the ‘ivory towers’ of academic theory and the ‘swampy lowlands’ of practice. Schön advocated for the use of critical reflection to bridge the theorypractice gap. While I would never equate social care practice to the conditions of a swamp, I do agree with Schön’s stance on reflection. So, whenever I am lost, or unsure of what I am trying to achieve, I ask myself the simple question: what does success look like?
To answer that question, I must first ask whose version of success and I am seeking to establish, as success often means different things for different people and at different points in their life
In a previous article, I wrote that space should belong to those that live there, but also be enabling for staff who work within it.1 We are all, sadly, familiar with institutions where the walls positively bristle with management directives, where this month’s missed targets are pinned over last month’s wellbeing initiative. While these might be important for staff to know, they are not important to the people who live in the space, and conspire to say that this is a place of work, not a home.
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