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Coming out

Despite being nearly 80, Anne loves exercise and gardening, walking her dog and photography. She has never smoked. Some things affect her breathing – fresh paint, or the smoke from a neighbours barbeque.
An asthma attack as a result of an allergic response brings tests and investigations - tests that reveal Anne may have cancer. After surgery it is 18 months before she can get back out exercising again but, while the surgery is effective, it not until she gets involved with ACERS and pulmonary rehab in a community setting that she learns how to manage her medication and condition most effectively.

COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease rehab rehabilitation homerton ACERS agnes anne Hamblin asthma cancer exercise gardening photography son surgery tests scans

Small impact, big difference

Matthew has brought new multi-disciplinary approaches to COPD care and support for his patients. What took him away from the drama of A and E to devote his career to people invisible, silent symptoms?

COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease rehab rehabilitation homerton ACERS matthew hodson army ande a&e manager

Making a difference

Healthcare wasn't going to be Laura's career path, but a gap year in Africa changed all that. She became a physiotherapist, but not quite the sort of physiotherapist that people expect…

COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease rehab rehabilitation homerton ACERS laura graham physiotherapy physio gap year hackney

The eleventh hour

A chronic illness like COPD is a life-changing condition. Delayed diagnosis means Mary has to come to terms with all the changes that it will mean to her career, her finances and her lifestyle. But through the pulmonary rehab programme she learns to manage and improve her condition, and through her own determination, enthusiasm and contacts she begins to build a new, different and rewarding life.

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Just around the corner

Moving from the quiet lanes of East Anglia to the bustle of London means leaving her beloved cottage garden behind, but it does open up to Pat a whole range of COPD services and support that is localised and tailored to her needs.

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Mama Yawa

Why do we become leaders, researchers, carers, midwifes? What makes people see us as mothers or queens? Dawn's life and career path leads her on a long journey, both personal and professional.

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Being invisible

Invisible. That is how Sue felt her friend Billy had been in hospital. And how she felt she became when, after Billy's death, she tried to complain about his care. Did the complaints system treat her as invisible because she was just a friend, but not a relative? Was it because they hoped she and her complaint would just go away? She wanted Billy's story to be heard but, in the end, she had to go to the Ombudsman before she felt acknowledged and received an apology from the Trust.

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For Nighat, the days can be long, silent and filled with nothing but loneliness. Every day is just another test of her determination to survive, another challenge to her dignity and self-respect as she engages with more and more services that try, but seem to fail her.

MMHSCT mental health social care trust Manchester carer support nighat mahmood isolation loneliness empty day silence survival

Doing time

The killing of her husband changes Tracey's life into an unrecognisable nightmare of alcohol, medication and emotional agony. In desperate need of support, she prays for a miracle or to be sectioned. When, after serving two and a half years for manslaughter, her husband's killer returns to live in the same area, the only support service that seems to understand her needs is Support after Murder and Manslaughter (

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My song...

As someone who has needed and benefited from support himself, Alan is well-placed to see his partner's need for support – so why is it not available from other services for her when she needs it?

MMHSCT mental health social care trust Manchester carer support alan Maguire support partner despair grief

Folie á deux

Chris' wife and daughter were mental health service users. When they commit suicide on the same day, Chris' tragedy is compounded by the responses of the Police and the support services, but now he is at last finding ways to move forward.

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Skip rat junkie

For many years, Justin's life was a cycle of alcohol abuse, homelessness, and life on the streets. He lived on the streets, eating from bins, and struggling to find a way to get back from a life full of blanks. Eventually, being sectioned put him into the start of a process through which he has struggled and grown until he is now using his experience of life on the streets to help others.

MMHSCT mental health social care trust Manchester carer support Justin sharman alcohol homeless streets bins recovery section sectioned services helping others

Labour of love

The struggle to obtain and provide the right, compassionate and loving care for his parents is, like so many other struggles for dignity and respect, and exhausting and debilitating one for Henri. But it is a struggle he pursues with love and devotion, and describes lyrically and poetically.

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Eight days a week

Dawn is both a mental health service user, a carer for a mental health service user and a mother. Her experience is one of isolation and lack of recognition for the complex nature of the caring she delivers and the care she needs. Her response has been to use social networking to build a community of experience and practice at: http://www.

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Empty chairs

The unexpected transition from being a mother to her daughter to being a mother to her own mother prompts a poignant reflection on her newly acquired membership of the sandwich generation, caught between caring for the young, and caring for the elderly.

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The worst day of my life

The day Pat is given her diagnosis of cancer is a terrible one, but the day some weeks earlier when she sat and waited and waited, uninformed and ignored, to see a consultant who wasn't there was far, far worse.

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I don't want it to happen to anyone else

After a long struggle with alcohol problems, Paul has to have emergency surgery for a perforated bowel. The perforated bowel doesn’t kill him – in fact he feels the episode helps him address his alcohol issues – but it leaves him with a stoma. A year later, when he wants to move on, get fit again, get back to work, he chooses to have the stoma reversed. The surgery and aftercare don’t go well for Paul, leaving him contorted in pain and wanting more pain relief than was provided. Unfortunately it also leaves him with a parastomal hernia that will need further surgery to repair, and a series of questions about the standard of his care. After failing to get the sort of answers or reassurance he wants through the complaints system, he opts to go to a different hospital to have the hernia fixed.

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The hospital that didn't listen

When Francis attempts to provide feedback on a potential safety issue to a hospital, he meets a system that cannot, or will not, respond until he has raised a formal complaint. His experience of other organisations is that they are more responsive to feedback., and he questions whether this lack of response is an indicator of an inability to manage complaints effectively.

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The child within my Bipolar

When a beloved son asks whether your bipolar is his fault, how do you answer? With dignity, self-respect and gratitude for the part your son has played in helping you through the journey of recovery.

Mental health service user respect dignity MMU Manchester metropolitan university social care trust bipolar child son honesty catherine skelton

From cabbage to king

Suddenly, one day, Graham is in a different mental place. His head feels different, the world is a different and challenging place – and recovery seems a distant goal. But Graham is a fighter at heart, determined to get through this battle – and to share his experiences so that others can get through the struggle as well.

Mental health service user respect dignity MMU Manchester metropolitan university social care trust peer support friends determination struggle graham stierl

Panic button…

Michael has been labelled and put into many different boxes over the years because of his sexuality and HIV status. He cares for his parents for many years, but the system needs to show its respect for his efforts by matching them with its own. Where is that support and respect in the last weeks of his mother’s life?

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This too shall pass

Terri's life had been a roller-coaster ride of stress, and anxiety that came to rule her life, creating a cycle of self-destruction and self-harm. Only when she starts Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) does she begin to learn how to practise and apply skills that allow her to take back the control, dignity and self respect that her borderline personality disorder had denied her.

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Part of the world again

Is the denial of someone’s illness the ultimate removal of dignity and respect? Bob’s alienation, pain and experiences are put aside by professionals for forty years before his mental health issues are finally acknowledged with a diagnosis. Only then, with good support from his Mental Health Trust and restored faith and faith in himself, can he become part of the world again.

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Why wait?

Francesco has had three heart attacks. He has become involved in the process of research and an avid follower of the results of research. Why? Because of his parents and grandparents, and for his children and grandchildren…

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Why research?

Jean is a medical professional, and also a person with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Whilst this means she knows the seriousness of her condition, it also means that she understands the crucial importance of patient participation in research to advances in understanding and treatment.

Department of health patient public involvement research ppi engagement Jean Waters mnd motor neurone disease doctor fightback


By the time a wrong diagnosis is reversed, Anne has had to survive many years of physical and mental side-effects from an inappropriate treatment regime. Yet, somehow, she has maintained her own dignity, kept the respect of her family – and prevailed.

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The elephant in the room

Philip, like many patients, would like to be involved in research. But how does he know what research is relevant to him? The supermarkets and online retailers he uses have a profile of him and his interests - could more effective systems match more patients to more trials?

Department of health patient public involvement research ppi engagement Philip Green information awareness participation

At the centre

A long awaited diagnosis of Endometriosis brings with it an unexpected change from being treated as a patient to being treated as a disease. This sends Angela on a journey of investigation and enquiry. As she travels that journey, Angela questions the motivations and drivers behind research, and comes to the conclusion that, to improve the commissioning, quality and relevance of research, she must place herself, the patient, at the centre of the process though her own participation and engagement.

Department of health patient public involvement research ppi engagement Angela Barnard endometriosis diagnosis treatment termination evidence cocreation

Room 22

What does it feel like to be an elderly patient in a care hope, with limited ability to communicate one’s needs and wishes? How does a young professional adapt to cases like this, connect to her patients, and ensure their well-being?

Tracy Mercer University of Nottingham AHP allied health professional training education mentor preceptor development staff support personal care home elderly lady room 22 tv isolation anger communication empathy

My best is all I can do…

Since her initial placement on a dementia ward, Dawn has understood the contribution that her skills as an Occupational Therapist can make to her clients through regular life story work, etc.
She’s now more aware of the other structural, organisational and financial factors that affect the level of care she can provide, but she’s still committed to providing the best care she is capable of.

Dawn Holden University of Nottingham AHP allied health professional training education mentor preceptor development staff support first job dementia elderly ot functional ward determination connection life story

Learning to work smarter, not harder

David's energy and determination take him from school to university despite his dyslexia. When he moves from university to the initial phases of his career, he finds that the support systems in place are different, and he must learn to work smarter, not harder.

David Abbott University of Nottingham AHP allied health professional training education mentor preceptor development staff support dyslexia assessment review self help determination drive enthusiasm

Coming of age...

For Richard, exploring the world, its people, and its places is an experience that both marks a ‘coming of age' and turns his preconceptions about a teaching career on their head.

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A brave and powerful story, describing a journey from abuse to recovery, via self-harm and indifferent support services.

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Hearing Patient Voices: healing and recovery through digital storytelling

This is Pip Hardy's presentation to the Summit for Global Mental Health, Capetown, South Africa October 17th 2011 ( Since its inception in 2003, the Patient Voices Programme has enabled patients, carers, service users, nurses, doctors, managers – all stakeholders in health and social care - to create their digital stories of health, illness, life, death, hope, despair, triumph, challenge, joy and sorrow – the stories of humanity.

Pip hardy patient voices global mental health summit 2011 presentation capetown south africa

Finger on the pulse

After seeing the support a midwife received following an incident, Jeanette decided to train to become a Supervisor of Midwives. Jeanette’s experiences have brought home to her how essential it is to keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening at all times, both for the safety of patients and the sake of staff.

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I went to work… …and delivered sandwiches

The day bush fires strike, Lisa has to adapt her role and skills in order to provide empathic and appropriate support for the victims.
Amidst the wreckage, the smell of the fire brings back to her childhood experiences that inform her ability to do this work so well.

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The barrel

Things from the past, contents sometimes unknown, can challenge or block our actions and our ability to move forward with our lives.

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Running against genes

One woman finds that the beautiful genes that control her nature and growth have also brought an unwelcome legacy from her family history. She takes medication every day to deal with her high blood pressure, and runs - not to escape her high blood pressure, but against it.

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Never give up hope

Inspired by her son’s battle with his own addictions, Nancy joins the telehealth-supported COPD rehabilitation programme in order to shake off her own addiction to smoking and to recover her health.

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The day the singing stopped...

Sue's home is full of laughter, singing and dancing. Then, one day, the singing stops.

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Ash, who works on the telehealth-supported COPD rehabilitation team, and Bob, one of her clients, have a shared interest in hill-walking and the outdoors. When Ash injures her knee and needs to go through physical rehab for her knee, parallel experiences turn into a sense of shared goals.

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Making the most of life

Trained as a solicitor, Aileen turns her memory to good use recalling family stories. Speculating as to whether stress and Alzheimer’s are linked, she nevertheless tries to make the most of life, like her mother and grandmother before her.

Dementia Alzheimer's resource centre Dundee memory family stress

The lad fae Norrie’s Pend

His sense of humour is undiminished as Alex looks back at various incidents in his life, laughs at the tricks his memory plays now at the Bookies and the shops and looks forward to the future.

Dementia Alzheimer's resource centre Dundee Norries Pend memory army shopping wife heart attack stent humour

It’s home

Bill’s love of sports (especially football), travel and keeping busy and happy memories of army service in Korea nevertheless lead him to conclude that home is the best place to be.

Dementia Alzheimer's resource centre Dundee army Korea travel football home

Some things don’t change

Bubbly, attractive and vivacious, Etta has lived life to the full, driving interesting cars, running amusement arcades and travelling around the world. For as long as she can remember, she has always loved food, although these days it’s harder to remember what she likes.

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It’s the art

Gerry reflects on art, the links between art and humanity, and the meaning of art in his life, As he struggles to take in his diagnosis of dementia, Gerry appreciates the care and kindness at the centre, and being with others in the same boat - and knows that art and music will keep him connected to the world.

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It’s a different world

Once a popular and confident speaker, loss of the ability to speak easily has been one of the worst aspects of dementia for Rob. Now, laughing and smiling, he reflects that a world without a memory can still be a happy one.

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Still fit

Strong and healthy as a young man, Wallace has always loved sport and being outside.
His loss of vision has meant that he has had to find other ways to exercise, but he still manages to keep fit - and positive.

Dementia Alzheimer's resource centre Dundee vascular loss vision eyesight neurologist sport shop steward fitness exercise


There was never much question about what Wendy would do for a career. From her earliest days, caring came naturally to her and she was determined to work to the highest standards, despite the parsimonious attitude of private care home managers.
Nowadays, working in the voluntary sector, Wendy continues to care for people with dignity and respect, while feeling valued and respected herself.

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For Issy

Steve’s eldest daughter, Ellie, died of Mucopolysaccharide disease (MPS). When he is diagnosed with a grade 4 Glyoblastoma, Steve knows that one of the things he wants to do is to leave a message for his younger daughter, Issy, about how important she is to him.

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I never ask ‘Why me?’

Accessing services is made more difficult for carers when they face barriers of language and culture. These can make it difficult to understand what support is available and to access those support services. Helen’s determination to identify and engage with services that can support her in caring for her husband eventually pays off – for both her and her husband.

sheffield council carer Chinese mental health depression husband bme hong kong Cantonese language support medication GP migrant Helen tsui

I never ask ‘Why me?' (Cantonese)

This is the Cantonese version of Helen’s story. Accessing services is made more difficult for carers when they face barriers of language and culture. These can make it difficult to understand what support is available and to access those support services. Helen’s determination to identify and engage with services that can support her in caring for her husband eventually pays off – for both her and her husband.

sheffield council carer Chinese mental health depression husband bme hong kong Cantones language support GP medication migrant Helen tsui

What do you say?

Finola cares for her husband, who was an academic, a writer, a sportsman, and a loving partner. Those parts of his life have now been lost to stroke. Now, Finola even has to speak for him - but what should she say?

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What can I get for you?

Ilsthar’s sister Zenib has severe learning difficulties.
She, and her family, are aware of how she could be best and most effectively cared for, but it requires an imaginative approach by those who commission her care…

sheffield council carer learning disability Pakistan holiday sister mother ilsthar ahmed bme

Six phrases of Urdu

Shahid’s family and community have a strong tradition of providing support and care for family members. His colleagues in the NHS are making efforts to engage and connect with the Pakistani community, but an incident during his mother’s care suggests one more simple skill professionals could learn…

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A leap of faith

Some changes in Carol’s life, like becoming a senior clinical support worker on the telehealth-supported pulmonary rehabilitation programme, have required her to make a leap of faith. Not only has her new career given her the opportunity to help service users and to see how much they can benefit from support, but their growth and recovery has been an inspiration for her.

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Long distance communications

Telecommunications technologies allow Christine and her colleagues to bridge the distances between therapists and patients, and so deliver pulmonary care to COPD patients more effectively and more efficiently.
Similar technologies allow her to bridge the distances between her and her family in New Zealand, but the experience illuminates other parallels.

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Good health to bad health

COPD took Dusty from a fit, outward looking man to someone with limited physical horizons.
The telehealth-supported pulmonary rehab programme has given him the support to improve management of his condition, but the death of his son takes him back to smoking.

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Why me?

A hard-working boatbuilder, fisherman and joiner, John was fit and capable. In his fifties he is affected by Angina, Asthma, bladder problems and then COPD – something he’d never heard of.
After the pills and inhalers, the telehealth-supported pulmonary rehab programme puts hope back into his life, guides him to further programmes, such as ‘Breathe Easy’ and, together with the support of his family, keeps him going.

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Someone who believed in me

Irene’s COPD manifests as unexplained and unexpected attacks for which she seems unable to get an answer. The support and belief of professionals and peers within the telehealth-supported pulmonary rehab programme has allowed her to finally make progress.

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Despite a weak chest from an early age, Bob has set himself physical targets and challenges throughout his life.
As his health deteriorates, he reassesses and reframes his goals, but a fall undoes many years of hard work. It is then that the support and help of the Pulmonary Rehab team come to the fore.

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The sun also rises

For Eva, the ability to use the right words to express herself has always been important. At 84 years old, the possibility of a diagnosis of Dementia is a dark and frightening one. But the inspiration of a sunrise, and the joy of her garden bring back to her that, as the sun sets in one place, so does it rise somewhere else.

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Another bag of Syntocin?

A nurse and a first-time mother, Rosie wants to avoid a caesarean section. Her experience on labour wards means that she knows birth is a painful process – so why does she feel so little pain when the contractions start? Should staff just keep giving her more Syntocin?

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From forest to forest

Dawn reflects on some of the challenges facing non-executive directors - in both the developed and the developing worlds.

South essex partnership trust leadership dawn hillier

A defining moment...

At the defining moments in a career it is often personal qualities, such as determination and honesty, that shape what will happen.

South essex partnership trust leadership faye swanson

If something's worth doing...

Sometimes, those trying to facilitate and drive safety and quality improvement can feel like outsiders. Working in partnership with other professionals provides Claire with an effective strategy for engagement and great personal satisfaction.

RCN NPSA claire wedge safety quality improvement team nurse

What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

How does a nurse educator who wants to improve practice realise her goals? Can it be achieved as part of continuous quality improvement, or must current practice stop while training is developed and delivered?

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Prader-Willi, Madonna and a fridge

There must always be a balance in risk assessment that is informed by the needs of the patient, not simply the potential liability of the organisation.

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Lost in translation

All professions develop their own phraseology, their own argot, often as an attempt at clarity and consistency of terminology when communicating with a client. However, what is clear and accepted language to a professional may not carry the same meanings to a client, leaving room for misunderstanding and possible safety issues.

RCN NPSA safety sexual health pregnancy nurse Mary Hutchinson

Therapeutic observations?

To what extent are patient observations therapeutic, and do they promote patient safety?

RCN NPSA safety observation therapeutic risk suicide self harm Samantha chapman

How can I make a difference?

Maggie’s vocation has always been to care. Her experiences of health issues only serve to reinforce the excitement she feels now that telemedicine technology can be used to benefit her patients.

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The old ogre

Liz’s ‘Pop’ was once a vibrant, active and driven man. As a health professional, Liz feels helpless watching someone she loves battle through mental illness.

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Delivering Telehealth: a circular journey

Charles is an inventive and enthusiastic child, whose blend of vision, determination and technical skills are just what is needed to take telehealth from tentative concept to effective reality.

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Gardening, fishing, dancing, family – these are all important aspects of Jim's life that Asthma and COPD take away from him. The uncertainty of when another attack will happen haunt Jim's life until telehealth equipment makes it possible for nurses to monitor his condition from a distance.

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Opportunity knocks

Katrina has always wanted to help and care for patients in better and more effective ways. She develops education and self-care programmes to help patients with respiratory conditions, and then recognises the opportunities and benefits that telehealth programmes can – and do – bring to her patients.

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Not Florence Nightingale?

Lynn 's nursing career is successful, but brings less and less patient contact as it develops. Paradoxically, working on an innovative and effective telehealth project brings her face to face with her patients, and finally to an awareness of the nature of her vocation.

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My Pod

Shortness of breath caused by COPD and Emphysema change Margaret's life radically. Leaving the house, breathing, or caring for her granddaughter become things of the past. However, the arrival of telehealth equipment in her home provides reassurance, better monitoring, management and treatment of her condition – and the chance to share in the co-production of care with her granddaughter!

RCN isle bute homepod pod telehealth copd Margaret Cameron granddaughter

Hope for the future

Sheena's work with people with COPD leads to working with patients to improve their care through the use of telehealth systems. Admissions are reduced, hospital stays are shortening – and those around her, both patients and family, have renewed hope for the future.

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The magic faraway tree

In the trauma of the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009, the large tree in Mandy’s garden has become a symbol of stability, history, friendship and recovery.

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The girl in the garden

Brendan describes what it is like to be debilitated by mental illness and how being a consumer consultant has been integral in his recovery journey.

La Trobe Bendigo Australia recovery mental illness health catatonic state hospital schizophrenia Brendan Landy


Carol gives a heartfelt account of being lost. She talks about what it is like when the ‘door is down’, and her confidence and happiness when the ‘door is up’.

La Trobe Bendigo Australia recovery mental illness health bi-polar childhood abuse fear anxiety loss Carol Harris

It’s not cool to take drugs

Although Carolynne knew that taking drugs could lead to schizophrenia, she did not think it could happen to her. Now she takes drugs every day to stay well.

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In Colleen’s story, a traumatic event triggers ongoing issues with her mental health and photos have come to symbolise both remembering her past and moving on.

La Trobe Bendigo Australia recovery mental illness health childhood loss trauma bi-polar anxiety acceptance Colleen Gale

Life is but a meta-4-letter word

Dave describes how his ride through life has been made challenging by the onset of mental illness at an early age. By telling his story, Dave hopes that others on similar journeys feel less alone.

La Trobe Bendigo Australia recovery mental illness health group therapy delusion schizophrenia Dave Griffiths

Playing in unfamiliar territory

Sue is surprised to find that she had become caught up in the ‘bossy world of psychiatry’ and learns that ‘play’ is an important part of recovery.

La Trobe Bendigo Australia recovery mental illness health psychiatry play therapy professionals patients Sue Kidd

The rules of grief

The loss of Tracy’s premature baby is made so much harder by people who impose their own expectations and rules on how she should grieve.

La Trobe Bendigo Australia recovery mental health premature baby death grief loss depression Tracy Kidd

Healing waters, people and places

Mental illness and other chronic conditions disturb the tranquillity of Wayne’s life, yet many years later and after much difficulty, the sound of water still anchors him securely to life.

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A one-way ticket

Motor Neurone Disease tops Jean's list of diseases not to have. Diagnostic challenges combine with the absence of treatment or cure. But there is one thing that people with MND can do to help themselves and others…

Motor Neurone Disease MND research clinical trials diagnosis tests neurology DeNDRoN Jean Waters

A carer's story

How should we regard the support we provide to carers? As a benefit for them, or as a recognition of the work that carers do on behalf of society?

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Working as a team?

As an airline pilot, Martin is drilled and skilled in the essential principles that underpin safe, effective teamwork. When personal tragedy strikes, the universal relevance of these principles, from flight deck to operating theatre, is brought into high relief.

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It doesn't happen here

One family’s story of attempted suicide, seen through the eyes of a consultant psychiatrist, illustrates the gap between the risk-aware culture of the UK and the impossible aspirations of Nigerian mental health policy.

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Not our concern now

A university tutor tries to help a student challenged by more than study problems

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A psychiatric consultant reflects on a busy night shift and wonders whether there is something more that could be done for those who are trying to end their lives in one way or another.

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Parents lost to alcohol

The tragedy of lives, families and futures lost through alcohol abuse is poignantly described by a friend who witnesses the destruction it can wreak.

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Harry's legacy

Linda's father taught her important lessons about how people should be treated. But her experience of healthcare as a result of accidents, miscarriage and a mysterious, undiagnosed illness gradually strip away Linda's self-respect. Getting involved has offered a way for her to regain her dignity and honour her father's legacy.

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Don’t worry, we are here to look after you

A stay in hospital cared for by a compassionate nurse laid the foundation for Stuart's future career in nursing, while the RCN has laid the foundation for personal and professional development.

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Invisible disabilities

Not all disabilities are visible but, as Cutie has knows, they still require consideration and support if, in her job, she is to perform and contribute to the extent to she is capable.

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Appropriate care

The late stages of Cutie's pregnancy are difficult, and beset with potentially life-threatening issues, but appropriate use of NHS resources results in her receiving care appropriate to her, and her unborn son's, needs – and leads to Cutie making a commitment of her own to the NHS in turn.

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Mind maps

As an RCN student activist, Jennifer is able to overcome early setbacks, take advantages of the many opportunities on offer, and look towards a bright future.

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Life with the RCN

What's it like being an RCN steward? Well, it's not all beer and sandwiches.....

RCN steward career responsibility support development involvement Justin mcbride

A chocolate watch

Weaving together painful memories of Kristallnacht, the kindertransport and a tearful farewell to her mother, Eva finds hope and resolution in a happier memory of a hug ... and the treasures her mother valued most.

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A cold sunny day in December

Lindsay is a committed, enthusiastic and newly-qualified mental health nurse – eager to learn and dedicated to caring. But one day, early in her career, she is brought face-to-face with aspects of practice that are totally in conflict with her vocation.

University of Nottingham mental health nurse trainee qualified young Lindsay Rawson safeguarding team physical abuse elderly care home

Learning to listen

Angwen recalls a travelling and caring childhood … but over the years, depression and alcohol change her lovely, vibrant mother into someone who needs to be cared for rather than caring and Angwen learns how to listen.

NHS Leeds PCT PPI patient involvement mother alcohol depression tranquillisers daughter recovery listen care Angwen Vickers

They're my eyes

Years of poking and prodding and eye drops and tests and blurred vision and heavy spectacles follow a childhood close encounter with a gate, all in the service of trying to improve Angwen's vision. But she prefers to see things in her own way, through her own eyes.

NHS Leeds PCT PPI patient involvement eyes squint spectacles optician child family vision sight correction autonomy independence Angwen Vickers

Why I became a blood donor

A terrible car accident as a child, in which Ken nearly died, resulted in his decision to give blood - and to the satisfaction that his involvement in this way will help others to live.

NHS Leeds PCT PPI patient involvement RTA accident blood Ken Martin

My careers officer said...

Andy's early career choices were determined by his mother - but not quite in the way he intended! It's only relatively recently that he has taken the career officer's advice and turned to a life of caring for others, getting involved in their lives and their welfare - and finding a new life for himself in the process.

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Fron Red Dwarf to Black Hole...and back again

Pat's busy, full and energetic social life and career come grinding to a halt after accidents and surgery, but the expert patient programme provides her with a new frame of reference within which she can accept her new role as a patient, and begin to build a new, different, but rewarding life.

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Getting involved

It's Ken's wife, tired of having him under her feet at home all day, who gives him the gentle nudge he needs to get involved. The satisfaction of having a say in how healthcare services are designed and delivered have given Ken a new lease on life - and keep him out of the house!

NHS Leeds PCT PPI patient involvement depression NICE guidelines satisfaction Ken Martin

I'll do anything

Although Brian was happy to get involved in most projects, he was a little sceptical of something called Patient Voices ... But making a digital story proved to have benefits that went far beyond the excellent refreshments.

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An ordinary life

Aileen reflects on the only life she knows, a life of joy and sadness – an ordinary life - until one day it all becomes too much. However, becoming involved as a patient has led to a new life.

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For Louise and her daughter Laura, a summer of celebration is followed by the trauma of a burst appendix and urgent surgery. Unfortunately, Laura's recuperation doesn't go to plan, and further surgery and care is required before normal life can resume.

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Alwyn works with people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and behaviours that challenge. For them, recovery may seem a far place down a difficult road, but Alwyn's own experiences underpin his conviction that it is a journey worth undertaking.

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Look both ways

When a client's life is at risk, Francis acts instinctively and courageously – but would he do it again?

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Where would I be without Shpresa?

Landi is sent to England at the age of 12 to escape the war in Albania. Alone and unable to communicate, he fends for himself and courts trouble… until he gets up the courage to go to Shpresa and eventually realises his lifelong dream.

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Nurse in charge

Heather has always wanted to be a nurse. A challenging night shift soon after qualification shakes the foundations of her belief in herself, but she is able to start the process of rebuilding through the small, but important successes that make up her day-to-day practice.

University of Nottingham mental health nurse trainee qualified young night shift responsibility confidence Heather Merry

A clearer road ahead

Ian’s first digital story left him feeling shaky and nervous – for an hour or so. But over the next days, weeks and months, a whole new life has opened up. This second story was created to celebrate the changes and the possibilities brought about by making that first story.

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A lost life

After many years of depression Jan's talented and creative son, Ben, is eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. As he becomes increasingly traumatised, Jan's sense of loss is intense. She now speculates whether earlier intervention could have made a difference to the outcome.

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When services fail

Although Lyn suspects that all is not well with her son, she is unable to convince social services to do anything… until it's too late.

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Coming out the other side

The night Maureen's son holds a lighted candle next to the curtains in the hope that he will soon join Jesus is the beginning of a long and difficult journey through psychosis and schizophrenia.

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Memories of a seaside holiday trigger a daughter's grateful reflections on the power of a mother's love, even when there are mental health issues to be overcome.

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I love you more

Mia recalls her beautiful, vibrant mother whose radiant smile was dimmed by depression, medication and, finally, cancer – but her memory still shines brightly in the hearts of her daughter and her grand-daughters.

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Becoming the real me

As a child, Pam learns to look after herself and her parents by bottling up her feelings. Eventually all those painful feelings had to come out. But the journey to health and wholeness is supported by family and faith.

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Tell me your story

Pep reflects on the process of creating her first digital story and on the beginning of the journey towards healing.

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My struggle

When an industrial accident leaves Tim disabled and depressed, the support of friends and family are as crucial as the medication he takes to set him back on the road to health.

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Breaking bad news: Is there a right way?

How should we break bad news? How can we train and prepare nurses for this situation? Early in her career, Rebecca is emotionally affected by a patient’s death. She is thanked by the family for her professionalism and friendly, caring manner – but her openness is seen by her colleagues as wrong and unprofessional.

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Maybe it just isn’t the right job for you?

After qualifying, Vicky begins her career as a mental health nurse with excitement and enthusiasm, but when the therapeutic relationship with a patient breaks down dramatically, she is shocked and fearful. Is this the right job for her?

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Blink once for yes

When Stephen wakes up staring at a strange ceiling, unable to move, speak, or even breathe for himself, it is only the beginning ... Fortunately, a young doctor goes out on a limb and manages to get specialist support to help him along the road to recovery.

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Looking for my mum

When Jenny's mum becomes seriously ill, she finds herself balanced precariously between her professional role as a nurse and her personal role as a 'good' daughter - the kind that doesn't rock the boat.

Diabetes nurse mother daughter dignity confidence dilemma hospital Jenny Gordon
From darkness into light: new worlds

For many people, the uncertainty of waiting for a diagnosis can be almost unbearable. As Eva approaches her 82nd year, forgetfulness and confusion force her to confront the almost-unthinkable possibility of Alzheimers. As she awaits tests and results, her reflections lead her to a place of acceptance, and ultimately, peace.

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Climbing mountains

When a riding accident leaves Dan with two broken arms, he has plenty of time to reflect on the lack of humanity of care in some of the best-equipped hospitals in the world - in stark contrast with the care offered in some of the poorest hospitals in Africa.

Broken arms care quality environment funding Africa UK Dan Kinnair


A trip to Ethiopia opens Laura's eyes to the value of education and the price of a smile.

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For most people, the end of life period is a few days, weeks or months. Derek's wife Barbara was left completely incapacitated by a series of strokes in 2003 and, with the help of planned respite care, Derek was able to look after her in the familiar environment of their home, until those last few days...

NAO national audit office stroke respite care end of life Derek Barbara Whitehead

My journey with David

As Margaret and David face the end of David's life, and the end of their journey together, Margaret reflects on the complexities and challenges – as well as the rewards – of caring for David at home.

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A bed for Betty

When Teresa and her family make the decision that her mum would be better off in Hospice, they don't take into account the possibility that a bed might not be available.

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The real Malcolm

When Alzheimers stripped Malcolm of his talents, speech and mobility, Barbara reflects on the quality of services in physical end-of-life dementia care, and on nurturing the real Malcolm through his senses and emotions right to the very end.

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The threat of deportation hangs over many refugees and asylum seekers. Martin and many others fight to save Alphonsus and enable him to live a better life than the one he had in Biafra.

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What if the relationship is not enough?

The human relationship between mental health nurse and client is one of the most powerful tools available to a mental health nurse. But when Gemma’s carefully-nurtured professional relationship with a client breaks down, what other avenues are open to her?

University of Nottingham mental health nurse trainee qualified young trust relationship loss suicide son marriage breakdown professional detachment Gemma Stacey

Are we there yet?

When Rachel qualifies she is idealistic, determined to help and fix her young patient. When circumstances mean that she cannot help her client reach the end of the journey, her resulting uncertainty and self-questioning are helped by the support and understanding of her professional peer group.

University of Nottingham mental health nurse trainee qualified young patient care journey family confidence eating disorder Rachel Hadland

Who is an expert?

As an enthusiastic, committed, newly-qualified nurse, Susanna values and acknowledges her patients’ own expertise in their conditions and care, but can she maintain her belief when the system seems to feel otherwise?

University of Nottingham mental health nurse trainee qualified young patient expertise respect idealism records notes ward sister Susanna Morris

Hope never dies

As asylum seekers from Kosovo with little English, Eda and her mother face many difficulties as they try to build a life in London . Trauma and stress threaten to overwhelm them but eventually Eda learns, with the help of Shpresa and other friends, that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and hope can overcome most things.

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A journey that saved my life

Entela is excited when her husband invites her to join him in the UK ; she cannot begin to imagine the perilous journey that awaits her before she can begin a new life in England .

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A light at the end of the tunnel

Evis is ill and in hospital, faced with a life-threatening condition. She panics.... and recalls earlier traumas when she was refused asylum and had no money to live. With the help of community organisations, she is eventually able to reach the light at the end of the tunnel, and now helps others who were once like she was.

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How I turned my life around

When Flora leaves her home and family in Albania hoping for a better life in England , she is unprepared for the isolation and difficulty of settling in a new land... until someone tells her about Shpresa.

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Never give up

Flutura escapes the horror of war in Albania only to face the harsh reality of trying to make a new life in a strange country. Sickness and depression eventually give way to joy and belonging to a new community.

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A knock on the door

When Lindita arrives in a country where the highest barriers to her health and welfare are those of language and culture, she suffers from physical and emotional problems until an Albanian voluntary organisation opens a door in the walls that hold her back.

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Go around

Cathy loves her job as a flight nurse and knows that excellent communication is critical if she and her team are to save the lives of the patients they rescue - and protect their own lives. Cathy's story was created at a workshop funded by the University of Colorado College of Nursing and jointly facilitated by the Center for Digital Storytelling and Patient Voices.

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When Judy’s life is shattered by an unexpected panic attack, leaving her with severe depression and anxiety, her husband is her main support, until the appearance of Jeblington, a puppy who gives her back a reason to live.

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My friend Autopilot

Kath’s internal autopilot has steered her safely past many obstacles and dangers in her life. When at last she is able to fly solo, there is a twinge of regret…

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One woman's life

Pat reflects on a long life filled with tragedy and sorrow… and remarkable resilience. Now in her 60s, she has managed to recover the anticipation and joy of youth once more.

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You only get one mum

Sue’s mum suffers from mental illness. When Sue and her brothers and sisters are threatened with expulsion from school because of her mother’s behaviour, a kindly social worker comes to the rescue, and introduces Sue to Barnardos…

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The longest night

Despite a layman’s interest in the brain and its workings, Bob is not prepared for the effects of a stroke and the threat to his concept of who he is. The Stroke Club helps his recovery and restores his sense of identity.

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From the moment her younger sister was born, Carole has spent her life caring for others, despite suffering two strokes herself… much like Carole’s own resilience and concern for others, there has always been Julie, and there always will be.

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Vicious circles

Dave's stroke leaves him exhausted and he has difficulties with walking and speaking. Nevertheless, he is left to his own devices to get well. Without knowing what help is available, it is difficult to know what support to ask for…

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Dancing feet

Joan is a born dancer. Her love of dance and music bring her joy throughout her long life until she has a stroke. At the age of 89, although she can’t dance any more, she still enjoys watching others and listening to the music.

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Too much sun

When Margaret suffers a stroke while living in Spain, she is told she’s had too much sun... and that is just the first of a collection of mis-diagnoses. The correct diagnosis comes from an unexpected quarter and eventually she finds help, support and friendship at the Stroke Club.

Stroke diagnosis travel optician Stroke Club support friendship community involvement isle of wight iow

The most wonderful husband in the world

As Phyl looks back on a long and extraordinarily happy marriage, she recalls the days before her husband’s stroke, before she had to make all the decisions, before the isolation imposed by her caring duties, before discovering the Stroke Club….

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The hidden disability

Teresa was obese for most of her life until a catalogue of chronic illnesses induced her to have a gastric bypass which led to a stroke... despite coping with the unseen effects of the stroke, the newly-thin Teresa revealed herself to be up for almost any challenge, surprising her family and herself by her determination.

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It is a wonderful life

Aged 101, Sister Marie Cecile looks back on her life as a Holy Child Sister, beginning when, as a young woman, she had to pretend she was getting the milk when, in reality she was attending mass!

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Out of Africa

As a child Angela dreamed of doing missionary work. When she learns that the Holy Child sisters have missions in the land of her dreams, her vocation is determined. She now looks back on many happy years teaching science in West Africa .

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The first ten years are the worst

Angela’s early aspirations of sainthood vied with more prosaic needs for extra sleep and enjoying convent life. Eventual discovery of her vocation teaching young children led her to another vocation and the discovery of the’ not-too-holy’ Holy Child Sisters.

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No holding back

The seed of Anne Marie’s religious vocation was sown when she was still at school, took root when she encountered the Holy Child sisters in Ireland, and has grown steadfast throughout her life, bringing joy and satisfaction to others as well as to herself.

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Inspiration from an unexpected quarter

As a young sister, Christine was fascinated by reports of the Great Train Robbery. The thought-provoking words of an older sister prompted reflection on human nature and our capacity to combine good qualities with bad.

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In the face of a child

Although Frances Mary loved teaching little children, she wasn't too keen on some of the messier aspects of the job. Unexpectedly, she learns that beauty and holiness can be revealed even in the most unappealing situations.

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Could you have anything better?

Gemma’s calling may not have been what was expected for her, but there could not have been anything better.

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From sole to soul

It is during the unlikely activity of making a shoe that Isobel first hears the call. Initially resistant, with other plans for her future, she complies and looks back on her life with pleasure.

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The feet on the sofa

Josephine is only a baby when her father goes off to fight in World War 1. When he returns on leave, she doesn’t recognise him and is puzzled by his appearance in her mother’s bedroom.

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Something out of the ordinary

KV’s response to celebrating the millennium by doing something unusual led her to Habitat for Humanity and to a stint on a building site working on affordable housing in south London.

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Angelic music

Mary’s love of music was one of the attractions of joining the Society. But when she decides to spend time in a remote part of Wales, with a flock of sheep as her main companions, she is not prepared for the extent to which she misses music in general and the liturgy in particular.

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True colours

As professionals, how do we care, and how much can we allow ourselves to care? As a young nurse, Gemma finds that the professional and emotional difficulties she must navigate have a deep personal resonance.

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From little acorns...

In this story, Val Leggett, Infection Control Nurse for Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, describes how lateral thinking, team work and use of colleagues' expertise achieved an award-winning facility.

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Living with depression can be challenging and heart-breaking, affecting the lives of everyone with whom the sufferer comes into contact. As a child growing up with depression, Melanie was able to develop inner resources that have stood her in good stead throughout her life.

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Lost and found

Without support or friendship, opportunity or empowerment, even a profession and vocation can become a prison. Through becoming an RCN representative, Marie found her way out – and onto the stage of the RCN Congress!

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Demons and despair

When an unexpected opportunity for some professional development presents itself, as a nurse with more than 30 years’ experience, Judy is unprepared for some of the lessons she can learn.

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She’s fine, don’t worry

Lack of communication between professionals and relatives can create and exacerbate feelings of fear and lack of control. These can often be addressed by a few simple, informed, words from someone who knows the answers and takes the time to communicate them.

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The complex pathway to motherhood

The termination of an ectopic pregnancy is just the beginning of a gruelling, discouraging, frustrating, heartbreaking, roller coaster journey to become pregnant by IVF. But Christine is determined…

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A patient meditation

A frozen shoulder can generate agonising pain at all times of the day or night. When painkillers and steroids fail to provide relief, a particularly long night provides an opportunity to meditate on the nature of suffering.

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See you all later

It can be all too easy to take things for granted. Recollecting a serious car crash, Joanne is prompted to express her gratitude for the really important things in life.

University of Huddersfield RTA crash hospital ambulance emergency family children survival gratitude nurse

My mum's smile

Resita’s and her mother were very close – and shared a disease in common. Resita remembers her soft and gentle mother with deep affection – and recalls the circumstances around her death.

Diabetes communities of health bme newham Resita Sambath cirrhosis liver death mother chronic disease migrant immigrant

In the humble and hidden life

In both her professional life as a midwife and her spiritual life as a Holy Child Sister, Catriona has seen the extraordinary revealed in the ordinary.

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The boy whose best friend was a Hoover

Duncan is both a joy and a tribute to his loving family. But, despite his own growing capacity for affection, there is a lingering concern as to whether, in the future, anyone else can give him the love and care he needs.

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A week in the life of…

The journey from one gender to another is never easy. Kate reflects on some of the highs and lows of becoming a woman, highlighting important trans issues.

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The forgotten memories

During her childhood, Lara views her father as the person who is always ‘there' for her. Only later does she realise that it was her mum who was with her through thick and thin, and a series of painful and difficult operations.

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Shpresa: the medicine that saved my life

When Luljeta first arrives in the UK from Albania, she struggles to settle down. Gradually, with help and support from family, friends and neighbours, a community is established that helps her, and others from her country to integrate happily and with dignity.

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In sickness and in health

Mrs Naran speaks many languages, but when the doctor tells her she has diabetes, she can barely believe him. A combination of careful diet, exercise, herbal medicine and her husband’s support enable her to live a full and healthy life.

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An inspiration to heaven and earth

The day of his mother’s death is an abiding memory for Mr Naran. He lovingly recounts the story of his beloved mother’s last hours, setting it in the context of a life well-lived.

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Inside out

When Marie became a religious sister she felt a bit special. Changes in the Catholic Church and her work with people on the edges of society give her an opportunity to learn some valuable lessons.

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Crossing the road

As a young child, Jenny is inspired by the story of the good Samaritan. Spirituality is an important part of her life but it isn't until she reads the moving testimony of a nun who works with people with HIV/AIDs that she discovers her true vocation.

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Standing on my own two feet

At the age of 82, Eva looks back on her life's journey… from darkness and despair to light and hope, forgiveness and love, all the while sustained by her faith and the beauty of the natural world.

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Taking control

Barbara has had plenty of time to reach an accommodation with diabetes, and knows what works for her, even when the health professionals are uncertain.

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George is used to receiving good treatment in hospital so when he is asked to hand over his diabetes kit, he agrees with some trepidation. His concerns are not misplaced as poor treatment results in dangerously high blood sugar levels.

Diabetes inpatient hospital heart operation blood sugar insulin nurse standards nhs George Connelly

A hospital is no place for a Diabetic

As a diabetic, Peter is accustomed to managing his blood sugar levels. When hospital staff appear to take little interest in his diabetes, Peter's concern about what might happen during the operation leads him to wonder why there can't be an official handover.

Diabetes inpatient hospital insulin smoking operation handover hypo blood sugar Peter Maufe

Hard-boiled eggs

It's easy to make assumptions. Sometimes the results are amusing, and sometimes they have far-reaching consequences.

Assumption sight child birth Philip Allen

Double trouble

Caring for a partner with Diabetes requires a wide range of skills, in order to provide effective care and deal with hospital and emergency services.

Diabetes inpatient Philip Allen carer hospital emergency services insulin behaviour


Moving from sunny California to a chilly 1960s boarding school in England would be a shock to any system. Gardening offers some solace but it is many years before healing takes place and the transplant can be considered successful.

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Feeling suicidal

Julie Coleman’s second story offers a wry and personal look at depression, the effects of the drugs, and the important role of friends and family.

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Are you happy in your profession?

Abs had a successful career as an accountant in London before deciding to go back to medical school. Despite the ups and downs, his chosen path seems to be the right one.

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Yeah, I'll go

Matthew’s first experience of catheterisation isn’t quite like the training course, but it is good practice! However, doing things ‘by the book’ isn’t always enough.

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A heart of stone?

As a medical student, Salam is shocked and angered when an emergency operation doesn’t go according to plan. But he comes to realise that things are not always what they may seem.

Leicester university medical school student selected component ssc junior doctor reflection training reflection surgery aortic aneurism death consultant feelings frustration anger Salam Al-Alousi

Care of the dying?

There are many preconceptions and stereotypes surrounding hospice care. When Steve chooses Hospice for his clinical placement, he is pleasantly surprised to find that care of the dying is not at all what he had anticipated.

Leicester university medical school student selected component ssc junior doctor training reflection hospice stereotype calm peaceful life living family respect dignity Steve Stephen Corry

Your type

When Steve chooses a placement at a hospice, in order to learn some of the ‘softer’ skills that he thinks will help him in the practice of emergency medicine, a casual remark causes him to reflect on what ‘type’ he needs to be to care for people facing death.

Leicester university medical school student selected component ssc junior doctor training reflection stereotype consultant trainee emergency acceptance Steve Stephen Corry

Be patient with us

As a medical student, Wee Haan becomes acutely aware of the tensions between caring for the patient and caring for the family – and pleads for tolerance while he learns to find the right balance.

Leicester university medical school student selected component ssc junior doctor training reflection trainee priorities balance anger family difficult confidentiality communication respect patience Wee Haan Pang

Can I have a hand please?

Patients in the last days and hours of life can sometimes be challenging and even unreasonable. As the only male professional on the ward, Wee Haan is at first frustrated, but then patiently responds to the final requests of a dying man.

Leicester university medical school student selected component ssc junior doctor training reflection heart failure elderly man comfort dying respect dignity frustration Wee Haan Pang

The story of an eagle

Albert recounts the story of his life (and before), and hopes that the lessons he has learned the hard way may help his own grandchildren and other young people avoid the same pitfalls, and steer clear of the potential danger of diabetes.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Live Well™ drugs alcohol heart attack prison family

A second chance

Ericka’s life was saved by a liver transplant, but she continues to live with the knowledge that someone else had to die in order for her to live.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Live Well™ liver transplant organ donation drug overdose youth grandchildren spirit hope

Our journey in life

Florence is a master at creating the Birch Bark Bitings incorporating the wisdom of the Medicine Wheel. She links the meaning of the symbols to her own life and her growing understanding of the need to live well.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Live Well™ medicine wheel wisdom healing tradition culture residential school

Don't knock on my door

So many members of Vicky’s family have died too young. When she is invited to participate in the Live Well with Chronic Disease programme, her wish is that they could have had the same chance of healthier lives.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Cree Live Well™ death kidney heart dialysis

I remember them

Della pays tribute to her family, looking back with gratitude to her adoptive parents and forward to her two young sons, gently reminding them of the importance of a healthy lifestyle so that they will grown up strong and well.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Live Well ™ family twin adopted children faith


Evelyn is arespected Elder of her community. In a letter to her grandson, Evelyn recounts the story of her life, from the trauma of residential school and its effects on her relationship with her own mother, to her desire to set a healthy example to her own grandchildren and other members of the community.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Live Well™ residential school trauma mental health breakdown mother elder family tradition Cree


Susan lovingly recalls her Mooshum (Grandfather) and the powerful influence he has had on her life. His warmth, humour, knowledge and respect for cultural traditions has helped Susan to preserve much that is good about their culture, including the desire to live a healthy life.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Live Well™ culture tradition healing remedies humour dance frog child berries

My family

Many members of Yvonne’s family have died, including one of her children. These losses, together with the inspiration of her father, have taught her the importance of family and the need to take care of her own health.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Live Well™ father family death inspiration inspire respect

Grandpa's inspiration

Shirley’s Dad is a loving and loved father and grandfather – an inspiration to his family and his community. She pays tribute to his generosity and commitment to family and hopes that her own life may honour his memory.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Live Well™ father grandfather inspiration inspire respect fishing grandsons poem family tribute

Why me?

Dennis was an active, fit man who has struggled to overcome the effects of high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as chronic pain resulting from several accidents. The love and support of his family, and his faith, help him to come to terms with his chronic conditions and he is now living a much healthier – and more positive – life.

Chronic disease diabetes diabetic aboriginal First Nation Live Well™ Metis family hypertension cholesterol pain depression despair mental health faith loss hope

Max and me

A holiday in the sun seems to offer Brian the chance of some respite from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, but air travel, as with so many other services, is not designed with consideration for those with Arthritis.

Arthritis care leeds university medical school white rose mobility air travel public transport knee pain walking brian clark design rheumatoid holiday

Magic light switches

Arthritis can make simple tasks so hard, but simple, appropriate technology design can make huge differences to the quality of life.

Arthritis care leeds university medical school white rose psoriatic light switch carole carter design

Eric's first fifty years

Living with an undiagnosed chronic condition can be challenging for the strongest amongst us. The whole-hearted support of family and professionals is critically important if life is to be worth living.

Arthritis care leeds university medical school white rose fibromyalgia rheumatoid eric moorhouse depression mental health employment diagnosis expert patient programme pain

I'm back!

Gill has plenty of energy for hiking, exploring and enjoying travel and a young family. When she is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, her world changes. It is an uphill struggle to rediscover her old self and she is not helped by thoughtlessly designed products and services.

Arthritis care leeds university medical school white rose self image accessibility DDA design campaigning gill bowskill

My dear friend Arthur

Karen loves to dance, but one day an unexpected new partner sweeps her off her feet, and she has to adjust to the tempo of her life changing.

Arthritis care leeds university medical school white rose gene genetic psoriatic dancing ipod karen hoffman


When tragedy strikes her family, the quiet and thoughtful support offered by Carmel's community helps healing to begin.

society of the holy child jesus shcj faith vocation calling suicide support nun community

Be yourself

Judith’s choice of vocation was and is driven by the design to learn and teach, and to be recognised as a unique individual. Her congregation has provided the perfect place for Judith to be herself.

society of the holy child jesus shcj faith vocation calling nun community

A long and troubled road

Abuse and neglect in childhood can start a person off on the wrong journey through life. With many years of hard work and support, this storyteller has managed to get back onto a better path.

mental health Sheffield hallam university bi-polar occupational therapy service user abuse recovery journey child childhood

Once upon a time...

The dearest gifts in life can result in the loss of things central to one’s own nature. When Pep, a vivacious and creative music teacher, has two autistic children that are sensitive to stimuli of any kind, she has to change her life in so many ways. Then, one day, a neighbour comes to her rescue…

autism mental health Sheffield Hallam university occupational therapy service user noise angry violent carer children silence weaving solace music Penelope

Something from nothing

‘As children we are but the soft clay of the formative years; the form we take is in the hands of our moulders. Let the formers form with love and not with avarice so that days will be ones of promise and not the rags of time.'

mental health Sheffield hallam university occupational therapy service user abuse recovery job work depression respect breakdown suicidal child childhood

Fragile: deliver with care

A poorly-delivered diagnosis is a cruel thing to receive. When that diagnosis is of a beautiful daughter’s Multiple Sclerosis it is even more so. Grit, determination and family support get Muriel and her family through that diagnosis and provide the strength for what follows.

mental health Sheffield hallam university occupational therapy service user multiple sclerosis ms daughter respect care bad news communication doctor counselling

Peaks and troughs

Nev is dynamic, successful and respected within his profession and interests. When a stroke affects his career and his hobbies, it brings psychological, as well as physical, changes and challenges.

mental health Sheffield hallam university occupational therapy service user stroke depression OBE queen recovery education

Jane and Peter's journey

For Jane and Peter, what begins as a whirlwind relationship has to become one of mutual long-term support through kidney disease and a transplant.

mental health Sheffield hallam university occupational therapy service user multiple sclerosis ms dialysis organ donation transplant kidney renal

My lost little boy

The loss of a baby in tragic and unresolved circumstances can leave a mother on a seemingly unending journey, but support, inspiration and help can come from the most unexpected of places.

mental health Sheffield hallam university occupational therapy service user baby boy son loss lost Dublin grave grief toxaemia bereavement mourning

From the other side of the bed

As a healthcare professional, Rosie is unprepared for a potentially life-threatening diagnosis. The support of loving family, friends and colleagues reminds Rosie of her good fortune in being part of a larger family of healthcare practitioners.

Patient professional diagnosis support, unexpected gynaecological exam

Not just a healthcare assistant

Cleopatra’s early life experiences laid the foundations for her caring and compassionate approach to her work as a healthcare assistant. When she comes to the UK, the RCN provides support and encouragement for further training and career development.

Healthcare assistant Royal College of Nursing RCN racism discrimination compassion nursing training development child childhood

I used to sit in this chair

For Ricky, blindness initially means frustration, pain and inactivity. With appropriate support and training, he overcomes these to return to work.

ExDRA disability work employment prejudice discriminate discrimination difficulty respect blind blindness sight diabetes IT ICT ECDL

Tip off

Tetraplegia doesn’t stop Andy from having a successful education like that of his friends. Just like many of them, the route into employment comes from contacts and a ‘tip-off’ – in this case about a job for which he is uniquely qualified.

ExDRA disability work employment prejudice discriminate discrimination difficulty respect wheel chair paralysis tetraplegic IT ICT ECDL degree

Filling the void

Martin’s Aspergers syndrome affects his schooling, and seems set to affect his future, but through hard work and a continual determination to expand his horizons and succeed, Martin is now fulfilling a important role in a team

ExDRA learning disability work employment prejudice discriminate discrimination difficulty respect aspergers sport karate football Olympics

Not just a piano tuner

Blindness seemed to have cut short Steve’s promising career as an engineer, and left him feeling dismissed and pigeon-holed. Family support and determination led him through to a post-graduate degree and responsible role.

ExDRA disability work employment prejudice discriminate discrimination difficulty respect blind blindness sight diabetes kidney degree masters dialysis renal

I've got it all

A teacher once said Natalie would never achieve anything – but she now has a home, a child, a career – and a passion for helping others to learn about the needs and capabilities of those with disability.

ExDRA disability work employment prejudice discriminate discrimination difficulty respect wheel chair paralysis

A fish out of water

At school and as a child, Tony had always felt out of place, but in the responsibilities and challenges of his new job, he no longer feels like a fish out of water.

ExDRA learning disability work employment prejudice discriminate discrimination difficulty respect special school learning difficulties driving

Worth more than a bouquet of flowers

An employer’s response to mental illness can all too easily exacerbate the trauma and disruption that results, with terrible results for human dignity and self-respect.

ExDRA disability work employment prejudice discriminate discrimination difficulty respect mental health sectioned union employer

Cycling down memory lane

The effects of a cycling accident trigger memories of an earlier incident in Ros' childhood, and provoke a reflection on the nature of memory.

mental health memory accident bicycle amnesia forget Pilgrim

What would you do?

The boundaries of the interpreter’s role can be difficult to map, especially in small communities and difficult circumstances. This story tells of three such occasions that test an interpreter’s professionalism and humanity.

Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA interpreter Chinese ethical dilemma involvement hospital cancer ovarian breast glaucoma cataract eye pain medication professional

Taking my life back

For years Valerie tried to persuade her doctors that the debilitating and chronic pain For years Valerie tried to persuade her doctors that the debilitating and chronic pain she suffered was a result of a blow on the head from an auto accident in her past, the effects of which were compounded by a another neck injury 35 years later that together triggered chronic Fibromyalgia Syndrome. It wasn’t until she believed she was dying that she decided to take matters into her own hands…

Fibromyalgia pain chronic fatigue exhaustion dying doctors patient listen choice pro-active control involve partnership homeopathy stress nutrition chiropractic Atlas vertebra FMS complementary

The cost of interpreting

There are many media reports about the rising costs of providing interpreting services but, from an interpreter's point of view, there are other reasons for rising costs.

Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA interpreter expense costs time delays court waste

The unlikely interpreter

People come to interpreting via many and varied routes with frustrations and rewards in almost equal measure. The satisfactions of the job encourage Randall to speculate about the future.

Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA interpreter career help Chinese American

Losing Mary

Roy’s wife Mary has dementia. Roy finds himself changing Mary and the bedclothes often several times a night …and then discovers that Mary has hidden the soiled pads in obscure places around the house.

Dementia continence bed wet change clothes elderly carer coping devotion husband RCN

So many words...

Words are important. Their meanings are important. These vary from culture to culture and depend on context. It is, therefore, crucial that interpreters render the most accurate meaning rather than a literal translation.

Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA culture interpreter translation words violence bme family gender mental health understanding conflict assessment migrant immigrant

Full of beans Sam is initially told that she isn’t in labour, but baby Harry is born several hours later, several weeks early. As Sam is recovering from the shock of this birth, the consultant cautions her about the likelihood of further premature births… NAO neonatal birth baby premature intensive care consultant brain bleed
Thank you very much No-one is prepared for Evie’s arrival, least of all the hospital. Eventually an incubator is found and gives Evie a good start in life – just in time for her heart operation. An overdose delays her recovery but she is now the apple of her parents’ eyes, and her grin belies her introduction to the world. NAO neonatal birth baby premature intensive care hospital PDA surgery incubator overdose medication error apology
I am very lucky Despite the shock of Orlando’s early birth, Michelle is expected to get on with things like breastfeeding – which can be incredibly difficult when you are recovering from a traumatic birth and attempting to feed a very premature baby. NAO neonatal birth baby premature intensive care breastfeeding trauma pain midwife milk
Iman ‘Iman’ means faith, which is what sustained Cosser during the ten years it took for her to become pregnant. When her child was born at 25 weeks, more than faith was necessary in order for the baby to survive. NAO neonatal baby premature intensive care BME incubator special care faith
The third time... Despite having had two premature babies, nobody paid attention when Clare expressed concerns that her third child might also be born early. Even after Kaitlyn was born at 30 weeks, Clare’s concerns continue to go unheard and it is some time before she even feels able to touch her tiny baby. NAO neonatal birth baby premature intensive care contractions sick touch incubator breastfeeding
Two for the price of one Sharon is expecting twins, but she isn’t expecting them to be quite so early. 14 weeks in hospital and fantastic medical care have resulted in two healthy and happy little girls. NAO neonatal birth baby premature intensive care twins scan jaundice, transfusion steroids
A fighter from the start It took Jane more than 20 years to have a baby. Luke has clearly inherited his mother’s determination and, despite being born so early, he fights for life, and manages to survive operations and overdoses to become a robust little boy! NAO neonatal birth baby premature intensive care determination MRSA infection kidney failure heart surgery overdose medication error
When the clock stopped Giving birth prematurely can be a traumatic experience. Carol was very ill when her second daughter was born at 28 weeks and it was several days before she was able to see and hold her child. The effects on her family and her older daughter were enormous. NAO neonatal birth baby early caesarean premature intensive care incubator small children family trauma shock pre-eclampsia clock ventilation delay jaundice ambulance feeding tube milk
Nothing but the baby in my tummy When Paula comes to England from Portugal in search of a better life, nothing prepares her for a diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, or for the birth of a premature baby. With the help of the medical profession, and the interpreters, mother and baby have both survived. NAO neonatal birth baby premature intensive care special care portuguese interpreter HIV virus migrant disadvantaged poor benefits


Mental Health difficulties can have devastating effects on individuals and their families.
Julie's story reveals her courageous and loving attempts to overcome tragedy and offers hope through her recognition that life goes on.

bi-polar manic depression psychosis anti-depressant grieving mental health suicide safety pregnancy abortion risk depression determination courage faith hope sister

A change of heart

Interpreters may have to face and overcome social and cultural resistance to their role but, especially in health and social care, the effort is often worth it.

Operation heart transplant surgery bme interpreter patient male female gender culture social norm reluctant ignore family recovery clinic Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA migrant immigrant

The world through another person’s eyes

Efficient and cost-effective care with good concordance can only be achieved through a holistic understanding of the patient’s experiences, culture and health beliefs.

Approach cultural sensitivity appropriate interpreter effective waste mental health depression prescription concordance counselling counsellor GP doctor Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA migrant immigrant

The naked truth

A patient's reticence in a consultation with a practitioner may pose an even greater barrier to effective treatment if their first language is not understood by the practitioner and an interpreter is not present.
Cultural norms around gender need to be considered when using interpreters.

Ambiguous name error gender mistake cultural norm boundary embarrassment interpreter consultation ineffective undress physiotherapist Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA migrant immigrant

Please help us...

A refugee's pleas for aid go unanswered by the system. Without an interpreter they would not even have been understood.

Refugee housing money shelter interpreter police hostel social services job mother daughter child kurd kurdistan turkey Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA migrant immigrant


No matter how experienced and mature the interpreter, an assignment may carry with it an emotional impact that is difficult to forsee.

Child father interpreter boundaries loss grief death toys grandfather buried Pakistan hospital ward childrens Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA migrant immigrant

The world is full of remedies

Awareness of mental health issues must take account of the cultural religious and cultural concepts and understandings of different communities if effective care is to be delivered.

Depression death loss culture islam imam mental health awareness car crash dream premonition Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA migrant immigrant

Lost in translation

An interpreter’s presence at a coronary procedure helps avoid misunderstanding build trust and ease the patient’s experience – and brings an unexpected benefit for her!

angioplasty patient russian interpreter stent angiogram ray lead apron trust reassurance error interpret translate translation smoking stop angina tonsillitis Cintra INTRAN HITS TIP ESF EEDA migrant immigrant


For a relative or a carer the language of healthcare can be harsh, frightening, guttural and unfeeling - even when interpersonal relationships are strong and care is effective. This story uses a written style that attempts to highlight that contrast.

mastectomy unilateral reconstruction hospital visit mother son scar stoic language clinical harsh carer

Only connect: a life in stories

A life lived in stories, told in stories and shared in stories, is honoured by the caring and compassionate attention of hospice staff.

Hospice story stories father appropriate discuss review family


Who takes responsibility for the dying? Who gives that responsibility, and how can it be handled sensitively by those with only a clinical connection to a case?

Carer decision professional compassion understanding terminal

Out of reach

A simple oversight leaves a post-operative patient unable to obtain pain relief or alert staff to her condition.

Pain hysterectomy operation hospital ward bell drip epidural intubate nurse Jenny Gordon

Getting it right

Getting it right when learning relies on getting it right when teaching as well.

Lesson learn teach children tea Mark assumption competence Jenny Gordon

Christmas with Mum

Ian has found that planning and anticipation are the keys to happy and uneventful Christmases with a mum who has Parkinson’s Disease… and remembering that the look in her eyes can convey the joy that her facial expressions no longer show.

Parkinsons drugs continence support carer son mother Christmas anticipate plan prepare dignity expression facial eyes

Simple solutions

A simple solution allows an elderly woman with Parkinsons to regain her independence.

Continence Parkinsons elderly female urinal toilet independence chaotic smell solution Sue Thomas

I wouldn't have started from here

Travelling on trains can be difficult for a person with Parkinson’s. Sheila's upbeat approach encourages a positive response that helps ease her journey through life.

Parkinsons travel continence kindness professional staff toilet mobility train Sheila Harvey george

Something for free

A small voluntary organisation that provides free counselling for those who would not otherwise have access to such a service is struggling to survive in the face of funding cuts. If the prevailing attitude does indeed prevail, what future is there for voluntary organisations in the co-production of care? If, after seeing the story, you would like to support Hitchin Counselling Service, please contact The Administrator at Hitchin Counselling Service, on 01462 790806.

counselling hitchin organisation free pct primary care funding voluntary value mental health humanity chris kell

If I had to go through it all again…

Sharon’s children are very young when she has her stroke, and the only way she could express herself was through her paintings, which she hid from the family so they wouldn’t know of her sadness and despair. Recognition of her talent led to increased confidence and the family remains close-knit and involved.

stroke aphasia mother young children baby painting depression isolation family confidence creativity

A much stronger family

Catriona is a fit, healthy, active PE teacher when she has her stroke. With the support of her sons, she continues to enjoy sport and outdoor activities – and the family is closer as a result.

stroke rehabilitation parent family sons support sport PE fitness

From pillar to post

After the initial shock of his mum’s stroke, 15 year-old Craig has found the right balance between caring for his mum and participating in her rehabilitation, and living a more independent and organised life, indulging his passion for sports.

stroke mother son family rehabilitation care communication responsibility sports benefits

There's more to life…

Nanik’s stroke has been a blessing in disguise, leaving him more time to spend with his children and family, and the opportunity to be a much more involved parent.

stroke children father parent involve family participate benefits

See me now

Janet was the family ‘baker’ before a stroke left her in a wheelchair, unable to bake. Over the years, she takes up painting, woodwork and all number of other activities before she is ready to meet challenge of baking a cake for the family once more.

stroke disability mobility aphasia choice strength painting baking woodwork rehabilitation Connect

The best Dad in the world

Marion’s healthy, active husband has a stroke in his early 40s, leaving Marion to figure out how best to reconstruct the family so that everyone feels comfortable.

stroke emergency husband family children 40s cope strength disability rehabilitation involve participate benefits awareness disability

Nil by mouth

Inconsistency, confusion and lack of adherence to perioperative fasting guidelines make a patient's journey a thirsty one...

guidelines standards thirst perioperative fasting nurse drink surgeon anaesthetist claire allen

A moving story

An experienced nurse’s eyes were opened by hearing discovery interviews with patients, which led to service improvements benefiting the NHS, its staff and, most importantly, the patients who are now better informed and in receipt of much higher quality care.

Emergency, care, discovery interviews, cardiac network, hospital transfer, patient information, communication, benefits staff, service, improvement, Jane Stubbs


Three-year-old Leanna has leukaemia, and geographical constraints mean that her treatment involves a great deal of travel and separation for her and her family. How could readily available technologies have helped?

Child, cancer, treatment, travel, family, protocol, standards, separation, support, telemedicine, technology, web-cam

Working at the hub

Improving patient care across all cardiac services is a tall order. In primary care, the things that have made a difference are: good (and constant!) communication, offering people something they need, sharing lessons and best practice and always doing what you say you will do.

Primary care, GMS contract, training and development, trust and understanding, spreading best practice and lessons learned, heart, interprofessional

A plea for dignity

Laura pleads with health professionals – and others – to bear in mind the enormous contribution our elderly people have made – and to treat them with the kindness and dignity they deserve.

Carer, rheumatoid, arthritis, elderly, respect, dignity, kindness, paralysis, incontinence, fear, incapacity, residential, dependence, stroke, interprofessional, Carers’ Resource

An open-door policy

When an elderly woman asks to have the toilet door left open, Joanne reflects on issues of trust and wonders whether the way we reassure our children might inform the way we care for elderly people.

Toilet, elderly, continence, dignity, anxious, forgotten, mobility, dependent, undignified, trust, reassurance, Joanne Mangnall

Where do you draw the line?

It can be difficult to balance respecting the privacy of patients with the need to offer appropriate care. Trust and good communication may help in deciding where to draw this delicate line.

Dignity, privacy, elderly, man, habit, day centre, continence, catheter, gangrene, trust, choice, dilemma, communication, openness, balance

Getting to the bottom of things

Jean has rheumatoid arthritis. Her husband’s tender care extends to seeing to her personal needs – in marked contrast with the personal care she receives in hospital.

Rheumatoid arthritis, joints, destruction, replace, surgery, continence, toilet, bottom wiper, dignity, care, carer, trust, disability, hospital, inter-professional, communication

Getting in ... and getting out

When 8 year-old Scarlett appears in the kitchen with a branch sticking out of her arm, her mum, an NHS clinician, has an opportunity to experience the system from the other side … causing her to consider the potential of new technology to ease entry and exit.

ICT, ehealth, e-health, accident, emergency, A&E, wait, system, electronic, prescribing, prescription, child, mother, branch

The nurse's tale

A story of mis-communication. Could effective use of ICT have resulted in a different outcome?

ICT, ehealth, e-health, epilepsy, hospital, nurse, dose, missed, records, risk, safety, system, electronic prescribing

The Dormouse and the Doctor

Milne’s poem can help illuminate the perceptions that patients and clinicians hold about their relationship and the parts they play in the process of care.

Doctor, patient, relationship, expectations, treatment, response, choice, rights, preferences, effectiveness, communication, Paul Stanton

A tribute to St Nicholas' Hospice

Marilyn Kramer pays tribute to St Nicolas' Hospice, where her son Ian died peacefully and with dignity.

Hospice, terminal, cancer, free, hiv, aids, dignity, death, palliative, care, dying, bereavement, tribute, Ian Kramer, comfort, St Nicholas, home, carer, family, gratitude, Marilyn Kramer

She always liked to feel useful

Care for frail, elderly people, especially if there are continence issues, can be careless or careful. Sue recalls the full life her mother led and acknowledges her need to feel useful.

Diabetes, amputation, care, elderly, incontinence, catheter, infection, useful, respect, continence, dignity, Sue Brown

Imagine a world

The International Collaboration of Orthopaedic Nursing offers nurses all over the world an opportunity to share experiences and make a real difference to patients, whether they are from ‘fancy clinics’ in the USA or UK, or from a small, three-ward clinic in Malta.

Orthopaedic, nursing, passion, vision, patients, collaboration, dreams, Malta, share, collaborate, network, future, sharing, learning, RCN, Bernie Cottam

A permanent holiday?

Graham is more than a full-time carer for his wife, following her stroke. When a minor procedure leaves Dorothy in great pain, it's one more thing to cope with…

Carer, wife, stroke, nurse, catheter, continence, hospital, emergency, pain, unnecessary, resources, interprofessional, Carers’ Resource, Graham Williamson

My Michael

When Michael is due to be operated on for bowel cancer, none of the medical staff listen when Michael and Joan tell them that an epidural will have no effect due to severe scarring.

Carer, husband, bowel, cancer, scarring, communication, epidural, listen, mistake, pain, interprofessional, Carers’ Resource, Joan Spurden

Why am I not the expert?

Jenny has Parkinsons. Perhaps that is why nobody listened when she tried to persuade the medical profession that her husband's mental illness stemmed from a frontal lobe injury as a child. And yet, he receives excellent care for his bowel cancer…

Carer, husband, mental, health, bowel, cancer, prison, anger, violence, listen, Parkinsons, frontal, lobe, injury, treatment, drugs, equity, expert, interprofessional, Carers’ Resource, Jenny Currie

Learning to care is part of the job

Alyson's elderly father-in-law is given a poor prognosis around the same time Alyson starts working at the Carers' Resource. She learns about her rights as a carer on the job, but this doesn't necessarily make it any easier…

Carer, rights, father, fall, prognosis, hospital, incontinent, elderly, blind, cancer, support, communication, officialdom, bureaucracy, Carers’ Resource, Alyson Hill

Just John's wife

After her husband's gliding accident, Hazel and John have to come to terms with his paraplegia, and her new role as a carer, before they can build a new life.

Carer, allowance, training, preparation, discharge, recovery, paraplegic, wheelchair, glider, accident, continence, disability, Carers’ Resource, Hazel Goss

Family matters

Pat's life, and that of her husband, is overturned when they assume the care of their grandchildren. Having fought the legal battles, they now find themselves exhausted and financially overburdened.

Carer, daughter, grandchildren, grandparent, elderly, exhausted, burden, finance, Carers’ Resource, Grandparents’ Association

Please, just listen

Jeana doesn't want doctors to breach the confidentiality code – she just wants them to listen so that they might learn something about her son, who suffers (along with the rest of the family) from a psychotic disorder.

carer, confidentiality, code, psychosis, violence, listen, parent, mental, health, hell, mother, son, family, youth, disorder, support, Carers’ Resource, Jeana Hardcastle

Just Jack

Liz cares for her grandson, Jack, who has been labelled with a variety of acronyms which entitle him to extra support at school – but Liz feels as though she has been cast adrift in a sea of uncertainty…

Carer, grandparents, ADD, autism, psychiatrist, child, anger, support, Carers’ Resource, label, statement, school, uncertainty, Liz Askew

A brighter world waiting

Following her stroke, Rizia takes up meditation, then gardening, and discovers a brighter future beyond stroke.

Stroke language aphasia ethnic BME Bengali self-care LTC long term cultural condition blood pressure asian female gardening recovery rehabilitation meditation diversity uplifting future Rizia Choudhury chronic migrant immigrant

Fast, appropriate responses

Frustration at the lack of action and the indifference of some staff in an NHS hospital leads a young stroke victim to request his own discharge after two days so that he can pursue a private MRI scan and treatment via his GP.

Stroke, quality, timely, not, prompt, male, young, scan, treatment, care, poor, resources, professional, nurse, interprofessional

A vision of the future

Timely, appropriate treatment of a stroke patient shows one way to a better future.

Stroke, shopping, recover, prompt, timely, care, emergency, Thrombolytic, scan, department, Ossie Newell



A stroke leaves Derek's intelligent, vivacious, active wife unable to feed or look after herself, unable to communicate or even acknowledge Derek. He imagines a world where such a thing would not happen…

Stroke, services, carer, wife, education, prevent, emergency, cost, drugs, treatment, risk, thrombolysis, scan, Derek Whitehead

One size doesn't fit everyone

People with aphasia benefit from individual speech therapy, which isn't always easy to come by.

Stroke, speech, therapy, aphasia, tailored, Connect, recovery, personal, communicate, rehabilitation, individual, unique, Sue, Mike, Fisher

New beginnings

Emmanuel worked as an engineer in the Nigerian Dept of Trade and Industry before his stroke left him with aphasia. However, his love of gardening leads him to transform an unused piece of ground into a garden that is a haven of peace in the centre of London .

Stroke aphasia garden rehabilitation Nigeria recovery ethnic BME black diversity African male engineer PhD communication Emmanuel Godis voice migrant immigrant

All the colours of the rainbow

Jane is a civil service lawyer before her stroke leaves her with aphasia. Her love of music comes into its own as she now leads music appreciation groups in which the music is as varied and as vibrant as the colours of the rainbow.

Stroke, aphasia, music, appreciation, group, feelings, emotions, fantastic, experiences, rehabilitation, lawyer, Jane Stokes

Helping others

Ken decides to put his background in training to good effect after his stroke: he now trains professionals working with people who have aphasia.

Stroke, aphasia, recovery, wife, training, professional, conversation, rehabilitation, interprofessional, Ken Bradford

Hold on to your hat!

For two years following his stroke, Alan didn't know that he had aphasia. After that, he is determined to recover as much of his life as possible, and works with a variety of organisations to help others suffering from aphasia, ending up at Connect.

Stroke, aphasia, disability, conversation, Connect, moving on, employ, charity, communication, information, interprofessional, Alan Hewitt

The first time

Sonia's stroke left her feeling imprisoned, unable to venture from her house because she could not communicate. Her first bus journey proved to be the turning point, and she realises that she can do anything she puts her mind to, with the help of a few thoughtful strategies.

Stroke, aphasia, recovery, confidence, Connect, rehabilitation, disability, communication, strategies, bus, life, courage, transformation, Sonia Parsons


After a stroke in her early 20s, Debbie is left with aphasia – and only recognises one word. 20 years later, she runs conversation groups and has gained immeasurably in confidence.

Stroke, aphasia, disability, confidence, conversation, group, lead, Connect, progress, happy, Debbie Lee

What I've learned from my dad

Anna's first lessons in self-care came from her father who, suffering from arthritis, had to learn how to look after himself.

Self-care, WiPP, arthritis, cope, LTC, long-term condition, Anna Lynall

Working together towards self-care

Despite at inward groan at having to take on responsibility for self-care on top of his normal job, Nick reaps the benefits and sees participants become healthier, happier and better able to deal with stress.

Stress, self-care, holistic, approach, confidence, job satisfaction, WiPP, workplace, colleagues, interprofessional, team, communication, Nick Roberts

A painful story

A bad accident results in a rare and painful condition which isn't discovered for two years. Uncertainty and lack of information lead to depression that only lifts when NHS Direct directs Pat to a self-care course.

Self-care, accident, reflex, sympathetic, dystrophy, pain, NHS, direct, depression, information, lack, WiPP, LTC, long-term condition, Pat Luther

Pushing water uphill

A paramedic sees lots of time being lost and wasted by unnecessary emergency calls from people who don't know how to look after themselves – and tries to make things better through the WiPP self-care programme.

Ambulance, self-care, emergency, WiPP, waste, efficiency, quality, out-of-hours, paramedic, 999, pharmacy, choice, Eleanor Thomas

For the Love of Lee

Choice of career is often determined by early life events. The excellent care her boyfriend received when he was dying of cancer determined Yvonne to put something back into the system by helping other people to stay healthy.

Cancer, chemotherapy, boyfriend, choice, dignity, health, promotion, self-care, career, death, grief, loss, emotion, commitment, bereavement, WiPP, Yvonne McGlinchy

Getting the balance right

End-of-life care is both challenging and inspiring. When a palliative care nurse recognises that patients with heart failure deserve the same kind of care received by patients with cancer or HIV/AIDs, he sets out to ‘even things up' in order to ensure a peaceful and dignified death for these patients.

End-of-life, care, dying, hospice, heart failure, palliative, dignity, dignified, death, psychological, support, service, redesign, pathway, nurse, interprofessional, Mike Connelly.

A common language?

The chief officer of the NHS Heart Improvement Programme wants to make a difference and, with a little help from his friends, he does so.

Heart Improvement Programme, collaboration, collaborate, Cardiac network, management, gurus, difference, success, learning, interprofessional, team, Adrian Pennington

A tap on the shoulder

Following heart bypass surgery, one patient decides to get involved – and reaps the benefits.

Patient, involve, heart, bypass, surgery, robot, benefit, participation

Jimmy's story

A patient's fall in hospital goes unobserved and unrecorded and leads to a severe spinal injury. Would earlier and more appropriate intervention have led to a different outcome?

Patient, safety, psychiatric, hospital, depression, care, unobserved, fall, transfer, ambulance, learning, disability, spinal, injury, missing, notes, MRI, scan, mental, health, inequalities, ethics, professional, equity, interprofessional

60 Seconds

Despite the obstacles in his path, Iain retains his sense of humour in this wry look at how the immediate physical environment can affect the quality and safety of care.

Wheelchair, stomach, toilet, hospital, ward, safety, infection, upset, dignity, respect, embarrassment, disability, awareness, access, essential, facilities, continence, environment

Bicycle clips

A bicycle accident results in a broken arm – and an important lesson learned!

Accident, crash, bicycle, child, public health, broken arm, x-ray, hospital, doctor, ambulance, lesson, reflect

Voices from the heart of healthcare

A brief introduction to the patient voices programme, incorporating four stories.

patient, voices, programme, digital, stories, healthcare, quality, improvement, education, interprofessional, narrative, heart, care, storytelling, Monica, Clarke, Ian, Kramer, Pilgrim Projects, Pip Hardy

A world of difference

How can we respect and care appropriately and sensitively for people from very different cultures – and still remain within the law? How can we educate people about human rights? These are just some of the questions that arise when a woman from Somalia goes into labour and nobody suspects that she has been circumcised.

circumcision cultural difference labour childbirth Somali ethnic BME female African continence urinary infection diversity culture prison communication Carolyn Basak migrant immigrant


The Clinical Microsystems approach to quality improvement is spreading rapidly around the world, because it really does make a huge difference, to patients, staff – and service improvement managers!

Clinical, microsystems, service improvement, frontline, teams, patients, interprofessional, success, Laura, Hibbs

Could it have been avoided?

An apparently routine operation becomes anything but routine when the bleeding doesn't stop…

Hand, washing, day, unit, surgery, emergency, calcium, deposit, bleeding, bandage, routine, operation, mistakes, safety, risk, high, blood, pressure, hypertension

Unheard voices

12 years ago, community healthcare was based on a hierarchal system which certainly did not acknowledge that patients had anything useful to say. Recent initiatives have made it possible for staff – and patients – to develop as individuals and as teams.

Hierarchy, segregation, community, listen, patients, staff, develop, individual, team, Essence of Care, enlightened, leadership, community, care, experts

The phone call

A phone call from an angry colleague prompts Alison to reflect on how staff teams can support one another through difficulties and losses in their personal lives.

Respect, needs, whole, person, support, teams, bereavement, personal, Alison, Hayes

The fall and rise of Shirley Gage

A bad fall leaves Shirley Gage lonely, despondent and lacking in confidence. Joining the Healthy Communities Collaborative helps her to regain her confidence through helping others.

Confidence, fall, Healthy, Communities, patient, involvement, Collaborative, microsystem, Shirley, Gage

My perfect baby

Even when clinical care is excellent, patients – and their families - may be left feeling that there is a lack of consideration for the needs of the whole person.

burns, pressure, garment, scar revision, skin graft, holistic, patient-centred, care, needs, Gill, Mathews

Kath's story

Kath is having difficulty managing at home, particularly with respect to the bewildering collection of pills she has to take. With the help of the Intermediate Care Team, Kath gains the confidence she needs to remain at home – pills and all!

Medication, remain, home, patient, choice, confidence, empowerment, concordance, microsystem, interprofessional, primary, care, microsystem

I just want to feel normal

Bill and his wife were struggling with his long term conditions. Since being invited to participate more fully in the management of his heart and chest problems, he and his wife have regained their confidence and are able to live a more normal life.

Involve patient struggle long term condition manage working together team primary care interprofessional microsystem home

The cost of care

Working as a team and including patients as part of that team can actually reduce the cost of care, and help patients to retain independence.

Cost, implications, working, patients, partnership, team, interprofessional, primary, care, microsystems, interprofessional, long, term, conditions

Our new Christmas tree

The patient journey is only part of the larger journey of life…when Steve Jones has a heart attack just before Christmas, he faces a dilemma: will his hospitalisation interfere with his wife's 50 th birthday party, which has been planned for months?

patient, people, heart attack, hospital, nervous, angiogram, stent, journey, dilemma, Christmas, Steve, Jones

Why collaborate?

A brief history of the Heart Improvement Programme celebrates the real improvements in services to patients that are the result of working collaboratively and building networks of doctors, nurses and patients.

CHD, collaborate, network, service improvement, team, teamwork, network, patient, experience, difference, interprofessional, Cath Lovatt

Caring for staff as well as patients

A nurse in charge of a coronary care unit is pleased to be able to improve services for patients and her staff through the introduction of a specialist cardiac transfer service.

Cardiac transfer service, coronary care, improving services, staff, patients, ambulance, interprofessional, communication, Denise, Kent

18 weeks…here we go again

Perhaps the 18-week target is more likely to become a reality if there is a genuine understanding of what it means to patients.

18, week, target, heart, improvement, Fiona, Mackie

Lost in time

Following admission to A&E, ‘John' waits for 20 months for an angiogram and referral to a specialist hospital while his health deteriorates.

18, week, wait, target, patient, heart attack, waiting, angiogram, referral, communication

A part of the team

Handovers can be critical times for patients; – it's particularly important for ambulance crews to respect and include carers as part of the healthcare team, as they are often the only ones who know the whole story.

Carers, team, patient, voice, ambulance, story, paramedic, transfer, handover, interprofessional, communication

Nobody told me

When Monica’s husband John has a gastrostomy, she is unexpectedly faced with having to deal with a number of different specialists for different parts of the pump ... simply in order to feed him.

Central control, system, boundaries, gastrostomy, different specialists, feed, carer, interprofessional, communication

Whose risk is it anyway?

How do NHS organisations assess risk? When Monica has an operation on her wrist, no account is taken of her caring responsibilities…or the impact that the operation will have on either her or her husband.

Risk, assessment, wrist, operation, organisation, carer, making do, interprofessional

Monica Clarke Introduction

Monica has learned a great deal about caring during the 11 years she cared for her husband following his stroke.

Carer, stroke, role models, social services, interprofessional, education

Serving the patient's needs

Ian had to take one day a month off work in order to collect his various prescriptions from different places. Although before a dedicated pharmacy was eventually installed. He pleads with Trust boards to review systems to ensure that they meet patients' needs.

Review, systems, patient, needs, processes, pharmacy, accrual, accounting, negative impact, interprofessional, commissioning

Another pair of eyes

Ian has his blood taken regularly by the same nurse who never gloves up UNTIL one day a senior nurse asks to observe.

Listening, patients, gloves, blood, observation, gloving up, infection, control, audit, training

Measured innovation: working together

Ian faces a daily cocktail of drugs that often make him nauseous. Together with his consultant and pharmacist, they work out a regime that is more acceptable to Ian and thus encourages concordance with treatment.

Drugs, HIV, nausea, interrupted treatment, concordance, working together, difference, interprofessional, partnership, involve

Ian Kramer Introduction

As a person with HIV and a bi-polar disorder, Ian Kramer has plenty of experience not only of the NHS but also of healthcare systems in other countries; he is sure they could learn from each other.

HIV, mental, health, bi-polar, activist, clinical governance, quality, improve, engage, patient, healthcare, systems, strengths, weaknesses

Left out of the circle

How can a person with aphasia represent their own interests and participate in making important decisions when they are not invited to use any of their communication methods?

Case conference, communication, well-being, lonely, isolated, understanding, communication methods, participation, respect, involve, interprofessional

Communication… just simple communication

Emma makes a plea for the use of simple communication methods to help people like Fred understand and participate in making decisions.

PALs, participation, communication, understanding, words, involvement in decisions, left out, involvement, interprofessional

Emma Allen Introduction

Emma works with a stroke survivors' project. She tells the story of Fred, who dies in hospital, lonely and confused, having suffered from aphasia since his stroke in 1997.

Aphasia, communication, stroke, stroke services, conversation, involvement, participation, dignity, interprofessional

A wonderful experiment

David, who qualified as a doctor before the NHS existed, praises the NHS, acknowledging it as ‘a very fine system for organising healthcare services.

System of care, NHS, wonderful experiment, fine system

Don't you do anything for heart failure?

David finds that little is done for patients with heart failure, although plenty of help is available for people with coronary thrombosis.

Heart failure, cardiac rehabilitation, coronary thrombosis, quality of life

David Clark Introduction

83-year-old David Clark is a retired psychiatrist who now suffers from heart failure.

Heart failure, active, doctor, psychiatrist

Giving someone a second chance

Making the decision to donate Daryl's organs to help others was an easy decision which has helped Joe and Grace find the courage to come to terms with his death.

Organ, donation, dignity, helping others, second chance, respect

Daryl Desa Introduction

Daryl Desa was a strong, healthy active 16 year-old until he died suddenly of a stroke.

Stroke, organ, donation, bereavement, parents

Now wash your hands please!

Healthcare professionals visiting Charles' home fail to respect his repeated requests to wash their hands before touching Mary.

Hand-washing, caring at home, respect, elderly, infection, contro

It's not hospital policy!

Charles describes problems that arise during respite care when the patients' needs are not attended to.

Caring, Alzheimers, communication, elderly, breakdown, respite, hospital policy

Charles Bruce Introduction

Charles Bruce is a medical professional with a keen interest in improving the quality of care, who also cares for an elderly woman with Alzheimers.

Carer, clinical governance, holistic patient care, quality improvement

Who cares?

How can carers and health professionals work more effectively together? Alison is challenged by nurses who are indignant that she should be interfering with 'their' patient. The consultant, however, acknowledges Alison as part of the care team.

Carer, partnership, haemophilia, Factor 9, consultant, respect

A more deserving case

Why should one chronic, life-threatening condition take precedence over another? While Alison and her husband await a liver transplant, they become aware of the superior conditions for relatives of patients awaiting heart transplants.

Liver transplant, heart transplant, hierarchy of conditions, relatives, carer, targets, equity

Alison Ryan Introduction

Alison Ryan wears two hats: as a carer for her husband, who suffers from complex chronic conditions, and as the CEO of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

Haemophilia B, paralysis, Hepatitis C, bladder cancer, diabetes, immuno-suppressed. Princess Royal Trust for Carers. Carer.


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