Co-production Week 2017

Co-production Week 2017

Friday, 21 April 2017

Ruth's story. Designing co-production in from the start – Wellbeing Teams

By Helen Sanderson, CEO of Helen Sanderson Associates



Ruth is 91. She has short, wavy grey hair and glasses, and she lives in Devon. Until a few months ago she was managing at home with the support of her family, but now needs a bit more help.
A Wellbeing Team supports Ruth. Wellbeing Teams are a new model of care for people living at home. They are small, self-managed, neighbourhood teams, with co-production at the heart of the design of the service.  This means that Ruth is fully involved in decisions about her care and support as well as how the wider service develops.
Ruth decides:
  • What she is supported with – her outcomes and her priorities
  • Where we wants to be supported – in her home and community
  • Who she wants to support her – her own team
  • When she is supported – what times of the day and days of the week
  • How she is supported – in the way that reflects what matters to her.

I wonder what Ruth would say was important about co-production? What matters most to Ruth is being supported by people who care.
She says, “The people who come into my home, we laugh, they know me and they care and that is what matters to me.”
Ruth should be able to expect that everyone who supports her is caring. That should come as standard, although we know in home care that is not always the case. In Wellbeing Teams we wanted to go further than that. Getting a good match is perhaps one of the most significant determinants of quality from the person’s perspective. How miserable it must be to be supported, even competently, by someone you don’t get on with. 
Ruth's one-page profile
A good match means taking into account the characteristics of the person and looking for common interests. This makes it more likely that people will get on together and have something in common to talk about right from the beginning. Co-producing this decision is critical. This is more than involving people in centralised recruitment and selection processes, it is about people choosing their team.

People like Ruth, supported by Wellbeing Teams, can choose from three or four team members who are available. They do this by being shown their one-page profiles and the one minute film. In the one-minute film the person introduces themselves and share three things that matter to them. 
When we think about co-production, it is important that we prioritise the decisions that matter to people, like choosing who supports them. 

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