Sunday, 14 December 2008

Blogging and the Life Story

Story telling is one of the most powerful means of communication that has existed for centuries. Stories well told capture our hearts, our minds and our imagination. They allow us to build up a picture and set of values and beliefs around the subject. Stories can be highly effective in Knowledge Sharing, they can also make the difference to the care and treatment we receive within health and social care.

Life stories, pen pics, picture albums, reminiscence books; all these resources are sometimes used in health and social care to help staff delivering care to see the person beyond a set of health needs.

Responsibility for the creation of these resources often lies with spouses, partners or siblings, who may find the process of compiling their loved ones story therapeutic for themselves, often the process does not commence until the ‘subject’ has received a diagnosis of a terminal illness and may already have cognitive difficulties that reduce their participation of authoring their story. The challenge that lies within is can anyone other than yourself accurately reflect ones own wishes values and beliefs?

This leads me to wonder if in the near future, our own blogs, facebook profiles, myspace pages and twitters could be used to compile our own life stories and even our advanced wishes for care and treatment?

Having a somewhat unique surname, a quick google for me would now produce a number of snapshots of my interests for anyone looking to put together ‘my story’. Though these of course would not reflect my values and wishes, some of my photos would go some way to strangers who were caring for me to see beyond any illness I may be experiencing or any assumptions they may make based on my age, race or gender.

Then there are my blog entries, this is one of the blogs I try to use to record my personal thoughts and reflections. Visiting my blogs in the future may go some way to help paint a picture of my values and beliefs.

Social Networking sites and the web offer an enormous opportunity for health and social care to deliver truly person centred care, if we can remove the barriers of fear & mysticism IT & technology hold still for many.

There are a number of interesting developments taking place around the use of online technology in the field of Life stories. Caring memories is being used in Scotland and is an application that can be downloaded to create an album (not dissimilar to mac’s iphoto albums) the interesting feature is that once complete, users can purchase a facility that emails those involved in the care delivery of the person specifically tailored individual activities and care plans.

Combining life stories, touch screen technology and video conferencing, Connect for Care are developing a product that I like the look of. It combines use of web2.0 communication applications with high tech touch screen. Though in its infancy the simplicity of its use is exciting.

Effective story telling has a multitude of benefits, combining this with the development of the web and social networking has the potential of making a huge shift in social values.

Any comments, thoughts & further resources you wish to share would be very welcome!

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