Sunday, 1 March 2015

Case Studies - You Can Make a Difference Campaign

 Make a Difference case studies 

Dementia Carer Voices began its flagship ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign in February of last year, which has gone from strength to strength. The campaign calls upon  health and social care professionals to reflect on the lived experience of people affected by dementia, and identify key messages or actions from their stories that they can take away and apply to their everyday practice to improve outcomes for people living with dementia and their carers.
The campaign has had an extensive outreach programme, engaging with an estimated 18,000 people over the course of 200 talks since February 2014. And will continue across 2015 

This campaign, primarily targeted at health and social care professionals and students, has travelled across the country with the simple message that we can all make a difference, no matter what our role. The highly translatable nature of the campaign has encouraged people from all backgrounds to participate, and has meant that along with professionals and students, MSPs and members of the public have readily pledged their support not just to the project but to the estimated 650,000 unpaid carers in Scotland.

The campaign seeks to empower individuals to make a positive difference in the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers. It aims to encourage people to do what they can to make their journeys easier, often in simple ways. Perhaps the most common pledge is “I pledge to see the person and not the dementia.” This is an invaluable shift towards a more person centred culture as envisaged by the Quality Strategy[1], which puts the focus back on the person at all times, recognising them as experts in their own lives and shifting the balance of power towards individuals.

Make a Difference: Inspiration and Pledges

                 To date, the campaign has gathered over 3500 pledges to make a difference.
              The pledges are inspired by the Make a Difference campaign, and are collected in a variety of means. This includes in person at awareness talks, at events such as conferences, via email and online through the blog site and twitter account. Throughout the journey of the campaign, the project team have been keen to learn about what works, and what changes if any are needed for the pledges to be fulfilled. As a result, the team have recommended that the hosting organisation for a talk should keep the pledges and work alongside their colleagues to make a difference. This has been done in a variety of ways by different partners
The project team was pleased to receive each of these pledges, including the pledge from the

 Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health Jamie Hepburn MSP:

“I pledge to work with the representative organisations and those who care for people with dementia to improve the support offered for them.  It is vital to listen to those living with dementia and learn from that experience, responding to any concerns and working to improve the lives of those who are carers, and for those they care for.  
This will be a priority for me.”

The campaign has been going from strength to strength as thousands of people have decided to make a difference for people living with dementia and their carers. We have been inspired by how many wonderful individuals like Julie and Rachel have taken this positive message forward and are delighted to share some more examples below  of how these pledges are being put into action.

Case Study: NHS Ayrshire and Arran 
The outreach work undertaken with NHS Ayrshire and Arran has been highly successful, and showcases the way in which carers views and experiences can have a positive and lasting effect on practice. The outreach work began with delivering awareness talks to the Board, and was followed by talks to 500 members of staff within the health board, promoting a greater understanding of the carer journey and encouraging others to make the changes they would like to see in their own professional lives. The pledges were used to inform the National 10 Point Action plan, as set out in Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy[2]. The pledges were aligned with the 10 Key Action Points to showcase how both the pledges and the Action Points can be fulfilled, giving meaning and context to each other. It therefore offered a meaningful opportunity to engage with people, providing information and guidance, and through having such strong commitment from the Board, staff were supported to fulfil their pledges in their role. This offers the opportunity for staff to learn from carers, recognising their expertise and establishing a more equal relationship where aims and outcomes are co-produced. They are committed to working with staff to help them to fulfil their pledge and have launched an anonymous online survey which will ask staff if they have been able to fulfil their pledge, what difference it has made and what barriers they may have faced so as to work together to overcome these.


Speaking of the impact of the campaign, Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland, said:

 “It absolutely lit a passion in me to my commitment and my pledge to make sure that whatever happens in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, our pledges will be met. My pledge as Nurse Director of the Board was to create the conditions and climate to keep things going.”
“I have no doubt that the pledges we’ve made will help keep us absolutely focused on making sure the care for our patients is first class.”

A ‘Make a Difference’ film was launched in December 2014, made in partnership with the ALLIANCE, NHS Ayrshire and Arran and the University of the West of Scotland which shares the journey of the campaign and the impact it has had on the staff. The video is available to view at

Allied Health Professionals
The Make a Difference campaign has been taken forward by many individuals who have shared the campaign and actively encouraged others to do so. Shelagh Creegan, Associate AHP Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities has been instrumental in taking this campaign forward, sharing it with fellow Allied Health Professionals. She has created a ‘living pledge tree’ that people add their pledges to on red leaves, and transfer these to green leaves once they have been fulfilled. Shelagh is sharing this with colleagues and encouraging them to make their pledge, and indeed to fulfil it.

Abertay University
The University of Abertay has also embedded the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign in their teaching. Emma Lamont and Robin Ion, who are both lecturers in mental health nursing organised a Make a Difference talk for students who will be going out on placements in various locations. The lecturer will then ask the students if they were able to fulfil their pledges, and will look at the potential barriers and how to overcome these in order to provide the best support for the people they work with. The campaign has been shared on twitter, with a daily pledge going out every day for a week to showcase some of the pledges and to inspire others to make a difference.

Care Inspectorate

Heather Edwards Dementia Lead the Care Inspectorate has been incorporating ‘Make a Difference in to talks across the country collecting and working with  on Pledges collected at events

The Care Inspectorate also asked staff to write their own "Dear Tommy" letters, expressing their thoughts and feelings as to the reasons why they do the job they do as well as sharing some personal reflections of caring for a family members with dementia.

Heather and The Care Inspectorate has been a great support over the last year with the pledgewalls, hub and pledge cards and they produced a guest blog about the work they do.

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

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