Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

The users' voice: an instrument for learning about the management of long term conditions

Keywords: work-based, organisational, change, evaluation, reflection

Authors: Mrs Lesley Moore (University of the West of England, Bristol); Doctor Jane Bridger (University of the West of England, Bristol)

There is increasing concern about the effectiveness of systems to manage the large proportion of the UK population experiencing one or more long term conditions (LTC), e.g. diabetes, heart disease, or chronic kidney disease (CKD). Historically, the management of long term conditions (LTC) has been driven by medical knowledge with little acceptance of the user perspective. With continuing challenges upon the capacity of resources to deliver individualised care, mechanisms have to be put in place that enable human service professionals to listen to the voice of the user, and deliver more tailored, efficient and effective services. This requires a greater understanding of how individuals manage their life and health, and the factors that impinge upon their capacity to become fully engaged with managing their own LTC.

Research undertaken for doctoral studies, the core of which was the users' perspective, resulted in the development of a grounded theory to describe the illness experience of those with CKD. The core category that emerged from the users' voice was six health related life skills that enabled those experiencing CKD to better manage this LTC. For example, social comparison can be interpreted as individuals having access to support groups. These could subsequently become a powerful user community of practice, thus facilitating further learning about the management of LTC.

It is argued that by understanding and utilising knowledge of these six health-related life skills, professionals would have access to a user administered and focused tool to assess individuals and then target interventions to meet their personal needs with regards to managing their LTC.

This presentation will offer an overview of the research undertaken, the six health related life skills, and discuss ways in which they can be utilised to enhance the delivery of human user focused services in the management of LTC.

Date: Friday 25 January 2008, 1.30-2.00

Venue: Carrick One

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Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).