Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Appreciative way to spread the 5 key messages

Yesterday, thirteen people met together to design a programme of activities to spread the 5 Key Messages about diabetes eye care. The different perspectives in the room included: health practitioners, health research, optometrists, health trainers, the community, and voluntary sector. 

We used Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to help us to think about what would need to happen to spread the messages successfully.

Appreciative Inquiry asks us to notice the very best of what works in relation to a particular issue - in this case spreading health messages across a community; and to explore what else might be needed to do this even more successfully. Then using the very best examples and the additional ideas, a picture can be developed of what success would look like. When we know what we are aiming for, then we can design the right steps to take us in that direction. 

Our workshop gathered the very best examples of spreading health messages through:
- community venues and networks; 
- GPs, Opticians, Pharmacists, and Hospital Outpatients; 

To these each participant added their own ideas.

Three pictures were created showing what needs to be done to spread the messages successfully. The video below shows the final presentations. 


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Our 5 Key Messages

This informal video shows the prototypes of the key messages that were created by sixteen health and social care staff in Keighley at a workshop held in February 2012.

The key messages were developed in response to our earlier research with the Pakistani origin community aged 40-65 in Bradford. The findings included:

  • the need for consistent messages to be given to people with diabetes;
  • the confusion for some people with diabetes about the difference between regular eye tests and diabetic retinopathy screening;
  • a lack of understanding about what damage diabetes does to the eyes;
  • a lack of knowledge that diabetes can cause blindness;
  • a sense of fatalism or resignation.

Discussion by workshop participants centred on 

  • how much the messages should focus on eyes, rather than messages about diabetes as a whole;
  • how hard hitting they should be; this, in the light of the research that showed that people who do attend DRS are motivated by not wanting to lose their sight;
  • how to be visually creative about how the messages are presented;
  • how many messages - from several through to a single message
  • how to  ensure the messages are persuasive and contain action that people can take for themselves.

As well as the workshop, two focus groups (one male, one female) were held with people with diabetes from the Pakistani origin community. The groups gave examples of when they had changed their behaviour in response to a health message. They told us:

Be clear – don’t beat about the bush. People change their behaviour in response to messages when either:

-       the message is clear about the consequences of not acting

-       or that what the health professional is saying chimes with their experience e.g. the message is in response to symptoms being experienced or about something that is demonstrable like being overweight.

Make sure that any action that is asked for is feasible e.g. walking regularly for a certain length of time rather than requiring someone to go to a gym. Another example was of a man asked to change his diet, when he was reliant on his daughter-in-law for meals and he didn’t like to ask her.

The women’s group felt strongly that the key messages should not just refer to eyes. They pointed out the importance of helping people to understand that diabetes is a whole body disease. They felt the messages should reflect that.

So what are the final agreed messages?

  1. Diabetes can cause blindness.
  2. There are things that you can do to help save your sight.
  3. Go to all your appointments.
  4. Look after your blood it affects your eyes.
  5. Find out more….taking this action also helps your heart, kidneys and feet.

Draft text for a leaflet:

Diabetes can cause blindness

Help your eyes by:

Going to all your appointments
- annual eye check
- annual eye photo screening
- GP diabetic health checks

Looking after your blood - it affects your eyes
- eating and drinking the right things
- taking regular exercise
- taking your medicines

Finding out more.. these actions also help your heart, kidneys and feet.
Your GP, Nurse, Optician, Pharmacists can tell you more.


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Behaviour Change - the role of religious belief

In an earlier post, I wrote about the need to understand what is important in the lives of the people we serve. Such understanding can give clues as to how to frame and phrase health care messages in ways that help people to make positive changes.

A significant number of people in our local population are Muslims, adherents of Islam. Their faith plays a major part in shaping their personal, family and community lives.

Islam, like other religious faiths, has useful teachings about health and care of the body. Chaplains in hospital settings have been able to help their health colleagues make links between treatment or health messages and the religious faith of their patients.

In the photo are two examples produced for Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust by the Muslim Chaplains. Mohammed Arshad, one of the authors, described how he worked with physiotherapy colleagues to develop materials that would support attendance at the Chronic Pain clinic. He enabled staff to understand how the different prayer positions related to phsysio exercises and to change the question about whether people walk their dog, to a question about whether people walk to the Mosque.

This knowledgeable support gave real confidence to staff hesitant about straying into what can seem to be the vexed area of religion. Understandably, staff are anxious about whether it is appropriate or about giving offence by speaking inappropriately.

Religious belief is central to the lives of many people in our community. It is part of the warp and weft of their daily lives, an integral part of their individual identity. It does not seem odd to them to speak of faith in terms of every area of life. Making faith connections with health makes good sense to people and may help them understand better what is being asked of them.

For example, our research into awareness of eye health in that particular population, revealed that people struggled to understand the concept of prevention. Telling the Sufi story 'Tether Your Camel' (see previous post about story telling) created instant understanding and a lively discussion. With the help of the Chaplain's material, we were able to follow this up with more serious Islamic teaching references, with which people were familiar. 

For the people in our groups, changing behaviour in order to improve health was not just about making an individual choice but about living out their deeply held faith.