Professionals in Fife involved in children and families services have been using Storyworlds Life tools for service improvement since our pilot with them in 2017. A recent session, using Connor Goes Swimming, brought together parents and professionals (Allied Health Practitioners, teachers, children’s nurses,playworkers) to share experience and opinions about what’s working well, what needs to change and why.
As one of the facilitator (a Speech and Language Therapist) explains:
We explored different perspectives of those involved in supporting a child and focused on ‘outcomes’ for families and children through listening to ‘Melanie’s’ story and provided tools to open up discussion. We hoped to offer the opportunity for participants to become involved in good conversations about their own experiences and different aspects of the (service) and to be able to take this forward into their journeys of care at the (service).
It is still unusual for professionals and parents to come together to discuss their experience of providing and receiving services. Those attending expressed how much they valued the opportunity for reflection, learning and sharing that this session offered. They agreed that successful service improvement depends on professionals and parents listening to each other’s views in a safe environment where they don’t feel defensive.
Melanie’s Story is a real case study but it comes from a different region. Because it was impersonal, the story freed people up to express their views and make connections with their own experience (positively and negatively). This helped to create a safe environment in which more difficult things could be shared.
The tool Connor Goes Swimming includes a pack of prompt cards to help discussion between parents, young people and professionals. Having used these successfully in the session, people identified the value of using these regularly to support their conversations:
Everyone came up with really good ideas on how they can see this tool being used to help build meaningful communication. The prompt cards or the 5 key area headings can be used as a simple structure to support conversations. These can be used during regular meetings, self-reflection or one- off meetings to support good conversations with everyone involved.