Who is Mycarematters for?

When I first came up with the idea of Mycarematters it was very much with people with dementia in mind, having seen my husband experience some fairly dreadful care through ignorance of the things that mattered to him. However, as the service has evolved and undergone trials it has become clear that we are addressing an issue that effects virtually every person undergoing a stay in hospital. It is likely, after all, that anyone spending time in hospital for whatever reason will have moments when they are unable to express their needs or explain their preferences.

The first person that brought this home to me was a healthcare assistant working on a ward where we were trialling Mycarematters. She showed me her Mycarematters keyfob and explained that she had created a Mycarematters profile because, as a coeliac, she  wanted to be sure she would not be given inappropriate food in the event she found herself in hospital and unable to communicate.

The hospitals conducting those early trials had initially planned to use Mycarematters purely for patients with a dementia diagnosis. They quickly switched to offering it to every patient / their families on the basis that even the most clear-minded and fit person can become confused and anxious in hospital. They may have been admitted with, or develop, a condition like delirium which temporarily prevents them from communicating, and which can increase the likelihood of adverse events such as falls, through ignorance of their mobility needs.

So the quick answer, to the question as to who Mycarematters is for, is everybody! It’s on that list of things we should all do: write a will, appoint a power of attorney, create a Mycarematters profile. You never know what’s round the corner, and how much better to write down your own needs and preferences when you still can, than rely on friends and families’ best guesses at a later date. (You can update it as often as you like, so you’re not setting anything in stone.)

It is free for individuals to create a Mycarematters profile: go to http://www.mycarematters.org for further information and to sign up.

For further information on how to use Mycarematters in your hospital, care home or hospice, please also see http://www.mycarematters.org or email info@mycarematters.org.

When less is more

It’s tempting, isn’t it, when trying to explain something, to keep on using more and more words to get your point across?

We all know how much more difficult it is to say something succinctly than to waffle on. As Blaise Pascal said back in 1657, “I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter; I didn’t have time to write a short one.”

There are often good reasons for keeping it short, and none more so than in the busy world of healthcare. Families may be asked to provide information about their relative being cared for in hospital, but if the resulting document is pages and pages long the sad reality is that it will rarely get read. Much as the staff want to, they do not have time to sit down and sift out the really important things that will make a difference to the care they deliver.

So when we were developing Mycarematters, keeping it short was an attribute we deliberately retained from the original charts. On those, physical space was the limiting factor but we soon saw how it encouraged people to think carefully and prioritise what was really important. We ask people to do the same when creating a Mycarematters profile online, so that a person’s core needs and preferences can all fit on a single side of A4. In that way, hospital staff will see a snapshot view of the things that matter, and are much more likely to scan their eyes across the printout (or scroll through some brief data online) than rifle through multiple pages.

To return to Mycarematters home page, click here.

Mycarematters is one of nine projects announced for the Essex Challenge Dementia Programme

We’re very proud to have been selected as a finalist for the Essex Challenge Dementia programme. We’re looking forward to working with Essex hospitals, care homes, carers and people living with dementia to further develop Mycarematters in the coming months.

Do you want to create a free Mycarematters profile for yourself, a relative or your care home residents? Click here

Read the full press release from Essex County Council:

Challenge Dementia, the first national search for next generation products, technologies and services that could transform the way people live with dementia in Essex, has reached the next stage with the announcement of nine shortlisted projects.On Wednesday 9 May, a panel of judges, chaired by Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia and Older Peoples’ Mental Health met to consider a shortlist of projects from the 71 entries. They have now invited nine finalists to test and develop their ideas in Essex over a six month period.
The finalists’ ideas range from technological solutions using virtual reality, video and AI systems to support the creation of digital stories, the growth of dementia friendly communities both online and in person, to personalised timelines and systems to trigger memories and holistic care solutions.  All of them have at the heart of their idea or solution the desire to enable people living with dementia to remain connected to the people and places around them and to maintain their identity.
Each will receive £5,000 and access to a unique ecosystem of dementia experts from across the community, voluntary, public and private sector as well as people living with dementia.  £100,000 will be awarded to the winner who successfully meets the entry and judging criteria.
Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia and Older Peoples’ Mental Health said: “I am delighted to have chaired the panel that shortlisted the nine projects that will progress through to the next phase of the Challenge Dementia Prize.  As a panel we have been impressed by Essex County Councils spearheading of this search for a ‘step change’ in dementia. This prize adds to a strong base of work that will help keep dementia in the spotlight and enable us to better support those living with the condition.  Along with the other judges I was highly impressed by the quality and depth of the entries.  I believe we have chosen a range of ideas that have the best potential to transform the way people live with dementia.  I look forward to hearing how they all progress as we head into the testing phase, and meeting with fellow judges again in November to decide on the winning idea.”

Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, Cllr John Spence from Essex County Council said:“I am delighted that Essex County Council are at the forefront of this pioneering challenge and have been impressed both by the quality and quantity of entries into the Challenge Dementia Prize.I would like to thank all the judges for taking the day and using their expertise and experience to decide on the nine shortlisted entries.  Having seen the range of ideas and solutions I look forward to hearing how these projects develop during the next six months, knowing that all of them are working hard to improve the lives of those living with dementia.”Further information can be found at the Challenge Dementia webpage  http://challenge-prizes.essex.gov.uk/challenge-dementia/

The shortlisted projects are:

  • The Wayback, The Wayback Team , Hertford
  • Home, EPUT NHS and Accenture Liquid Studio, Essex and London
  • Happy at Home, Active Minds, London
  • Building Creative Communities, University of Essex, Colchester
  • Vivify Me, 11 year old boy, London
  • Remarkable Lives, Remarkable Tech Ltd, Stroud
  • MyCareMatters, My Care Matters Ltd, Horsham
  • Communication without waiting lists, eQuality Time, Luton
  • How Do I?, NFC Helps Me Limited, London

Pioneered by Essex County Council, Challenge Dementia was open to individuals, teams and companies with ideas for ambitious and innovative products, technologies and services that will enable people living with dementia to remain connected to the people and places around them and to maintain their identity.

Mycarematters works in any care setting

We originally designed Mycarematters as a way of reliably sharing a person’s non-medical needs and preferences with hospital staff, wanting to eliminate the delay between admission and collecting the information about what matters to a person, when they can’t communicate those things for themselves.

But of course it works just as well in care homes to ensure everyone interacting with the person is aware of the information they need to deliver person-centred care. There is then the added benefit of a person’s Mycarematters Profile being immediately available in the event the person has to undergo a stay in hospital.

It’s just the same for people being cared for in their own home. It’s ready and waiting for a hospital stay, just in case, but it can also provide visiting carers with a quick introduction of the information they need to provide a more personalised style of care.

A person’s Mycarematters profile can be viewed on any internet linked device but we find that printouts are still the most popular way to display a person’s Profile, and we offer a range of display options to suit all environments: click here for further information…

Wish to create a free Mycarematters profile for yourself, a relative or your care home residents? Click here

Leaflets anyone?

MCM leaflet cutout v2Our design team have created a new leaflet to explain what we’re all about, for those people most likely to undergo a hospital visit, and we need to get them out there! Are you a homecare agency, a memory assessment unit, a carers’ group, GP surgery or any other organisation interacting with people who might benefit from having a Mycarematters Profile?

If so, please email us a brief description of your organisation, the number of leaflets you need and your full postal address, and we’ll get some in the post to you.

It’s entirely free to create a Mycarematters Profile and having one in place can help hospital staff get to know the person beyond the medical condition. It provides information staff need if they are to deliver person-centred and holistic care, and is particularly important if the person will struggle to communicate their needs and preferences.