My career was in Primary Education, ultimately as Deputy Head of a Primary School. There followed 10 years training teaching assistants – it felt like another career!
My husband’s diagnoses of Parkinson’s Disease and vascular dementia changed our lives. I was eventually his full time carer until he went into long term care. Our journey through health and social care services was complicated and disjointed. There were pockets of wonderful care, but we kept on repeating our story! After Bob died I decided to put our experiences and journey to good use and try to influence the provision of services for the better.
The opportunities to do this have come thick and fast! I feel my views are listened to and respected, and have influenced others’ ideas and practice. Among these are –
- Cumbria Dementia Strategy Group, led by the County Council – improving the pathway for patients and families
- Input to training led by Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative, which led to a National Award for cross sector training for health care assistants
- ICCs digital group who are overseeing the connectedness of digital services, as we work towards a paperless, and common medical record.
- Trustee of AGEUK West Cumbria – leading to lots of networking
- Participating in Ward Improvement Programmes at the Acute Hospital – seeing the other side of services. What a privilege.
So lots of positives have come out of a difficult journey. Lucky me.