Giving people a voice
Being a person who uses social care myself, I know how it feels to be on the receiving end. Often, it’s people who don’t receive care who make decisions on frameworks, processes and protocols, yet they may not understand the impact of their decisions. It’s essential that people have a say in their own care. Everyone is unique and social care is very personal so having our preferences respected is what truly makes the difference.
This is why, in my role as the chair of a guideline committee at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), I worked with a number of professionals and others who use our services to develop a new piece of guidance which looks at people’s experiences of social care.
As a part of the development of the guidance the committee looked at evidence about what people thought of the care and support they receive. I have a portfolio career with 25 years working in the sector as a trainer and consultant and latterly the chair of the disability charity Scope, so I was able to bring my experience from these roles too.
Consultees thought the work was hugely important but could be challenging to implement because the system is facing many pressures including funding and resources. Of course, we recognise these challenges but the prize for giving people a say in defining their experience is vastly improved care.
Working with people to develop the guidance
We used evidence that was based on people’s views and experiences to develop this guidance. It recommends that people are treated with dignity – as human beings who have their own history and they should be able to shape their care so it fits around them and enables them to be the person they want to be. Sadly, we know all too often this doesn’t happen, so this guidance is vital to ensure people receive the best possible care, delivered in the best way and at a time when they need it.
About the author
Alice Maynard was the chair for the guideline committee which developed these recommendations. Alice has previously worked across the social care arena working within training and consultancy. She was also a visiting lecturer in Bradford, supporting social work students pursing their master’s degree.