Two launches, one message – listen to us…

Posted on 5th April 2012 by

Tuesday was a day of launches for me, first up the collaboration between the University of Brighton and Age UK Brighton & Hove Wellbeing in Old Age: findings from participatory research , followed by the exciting Q Kit, a tool for people with learning disabilities to check the quality of care.


So, Wellbeing in Old Age – I was impressed by the depth of involvement of older people in the long term research undertaken by the Uni and Age UK, although it seemed a small and homogenous cohort of both those involved as researchers or as interviewees.

One of the important messages that came out of the day for me were that there is no substitute for relationships and while an emphasis on independence is positive, it can lead to isolation. Serious concerns were raised about the quality of home care and the ever increasing pressures on care givers to get in, do the job and get out, a 15 minute session becomes 10, tasks are hurried or skipped and the courtesy and simple contact between humans that means so much to us is eliminated from what becomes a transaction. Impetus runs a programme called the Lay Assessors Scheme which provides independent monitoring of the quality of care given by private and council run Home Care providers. The scheme is coming up to two year old and we are planning to publish more information on our findings to coincide with the recommissioning of Home Care services in Brighton & Hove.

Another key point that arose was on Equality Impact Assessments – local government is required by the Equalities Act 2010 to show that they have considered the full impact of any changes on the protected equalities groups. This includes Age as a category, but is no more specific than that. It was strongly felt in the room that old age should be considered separately. And this is something that Impetus recommended in its response to the Council’s consultation on its new Equality and Inclusion policy in February.

And, so, down the road to the Brighton Dome where Southdown Housing and Heavy Load were launching the Q Kit. The foyer at the Dome was packed, and it was standing room only as Paul Richards introduced the team who explained that the Q Kit is a tool to help people with learning disabilities say how they feel about their lives, their care and their ambitions. The tool uses video clips of people with learning disabilities talking about their lives, what they like, what they dream of to illustrate to others what the possibilities are. People with learning disabilities are no different to other people in their hopes and dreams. The care they receive can be a major part of opening those doors, or wedging them shut. Our own Interact project working with people with learning difficulties will be looking at incorporating the Q Kit into our work.

Contact Southdown Housing for a copy of the Q Kit.

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