Evening clouds

Evening clouds
Sunshine and Clouds

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Reflecting reality - further learning from the Help the Hospice's conference

The previous two entries in this blog were made during the conference; then I got to the last day and it's time for the train and home, back to work, and all the reality one comes to expect.
What was the learning from the last day; what has been my learning overall?
The last Wednesday, 28th Sept 2011 started with reflections on experiences of commissioning from a hospice manager and a speaker from the London office of CAB, Helen Paris. The experiences shared were valuable and chimed with what I have witnessed. The experience of CAB as an organisation has been varied; not without pain at times was my impression. They are willing to share their experience and are already working with HtH to aid development of support that HtH can give to hospices.
I moved from that session to one about motivating people; David Smith ex ASDA spoke of his principles for getting high performance from those working for you. He reminded us that though our products are very different from a worldwide business, we all employ people and they are similar whatever the business we're in.  I found myself marking our place against the ideas he spoke of - it was useful reminder that though we're getting better there is still some way to go. 
The other part of the session was the CEO of ST Peter' Hospice Bristol, Sandie, talking about the challenges she faced when starting and finding the business needing reshaping in terms of relocation and closing one site. Her reflection was unflinching and at times so candid I was aware some found it too much. None-the-less with a certainty of purpose and perseverance the changes came about and progress has been made, including making savings along the way. For me it was the way that Sandie had to face unexpected demons (even in the local Waitrose) that left me thinking about how well should be prepared for change.
The last plenary featured Jessica Corner speaking about the challenges of cancer survivor-ship, and what that might mean for hospices in the futue, caring for those with cancer that becomes a chronic condition. Finally Jo Hockley led a for me a profound session around visuising the invisible in end of life care for those in care homes. Her experiences in her work led her to challenge us to look for the subtext of what was going on when someone was dying; listening for the 'spill words' as Terry Prachett calls them. 
And my final impressions? Well my reality is shared by others, and they seem to cope OK! The commonality and common sense well applied can make all the difference to the way we work and the results we create for those in our care, be they patients or members of the team delivering the care. There will be more; it will come from experimenting with ideas and suggestions that flow from the conference. Better still, it will come from sharing the learning and experience as we go along. 

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