Creative Care Planning

This Blog by Geraldine Rodgers tells the story of how creating person centred care plans can make a big difference in terms of healthcare and quality of life.

Mabel, was approaching her 100th birthday and each day leading up to this milestone she experienced chest pains, which resulted in an ambulance being called and an admission to hospital. On assessment there was no cause identified for her symptoms.The result was not cardiac related and anxiety was thought to be the main cause. One day Mabel rang the ambulance nine times, which greatly concerned everyone involved, and I knew that in my role as advanced nurse practitioner I had to put my thinking hat on to create a plan to ease her anxiety.
Let me tell you a little bit about her. Mabel had 11 children, was widowed at the age of 55 and now lived quite independently in special sheltered accommodation. She had lived there was some time, and being the oldest lady on the block gave her great pride. She had 11 children and for her upcoming party there were now 100 descendants scheduled to attend. This multi-generational living family tree gave her much joy and each Christmas she would knit them a scarf or a blanket. On each of my visits she would relate their success stories, pending marriages, births etc. and to her family was everything. Her young outlook on life was inspirational.
Given the nature of my work I like to look at the TV soaps occasionally to know the recent story line and also check the football scores as both can be very helpful in checking short term memory. I had recently watched Emmerdale for inspiration and noted the amazing colourful blankets on the back of the Dingle’s sofa; I thought of a plan!
Sitting now with Mabel and her daughter we worked on creating a more personal care plan to relieve her anxiety. I thought if I could incorporate the things she liked to do we could prevent her anxiety related pain. I knew she loved to knit and crochet and she loved watching Emmerdale, and asked whether I should write to ITV and enquire whether she could kit blankets for the set of Emmerdale. On suggesting this Mabel was so excited and immediately starting thinking of colours and designs, and Mabel’s daughter thought it was a great idea. After my visit, holding my breath and keeping my fingers crossed, I e-mailed ITV stating I knew a lady approaching her 100th birthday and it would make her day if she could have her blankets on the Dingle’s sofa (I did not mention the chest pain or care plan). Three hours later a return e-mail came stating they would be delighted to accept the blankets. I really could not believe it, and Mabel and her daughter were equally excited.
Over the following weeks I got regular updates about the blanket design, colours etc.; Mabel was keen to have an impressive blanket for TV. However, the best news was that her chest pain stopped as she was so focused on the task and telling all her family and friends about her potential new found fame. A week before 100th birthday the blankets were wrapped and sent to the Emmerdale!
Mabel attended her 100th party with all her family and friends and on the morning of her birthday a beautiful telegraph came from the Queen, together with another envelope containing a thank you letter from Emmerdale and a newsletter from the fan club; Mabel was so pleased.
Each night Mabel watched the show looking out for her blankets, and the joy she experienced on seeing them made us all proud of what we achieved.
This story highlights that knowing your patient and personalizing a care plan can achieve some amazing results.
An example where little things can make such a big difference!
Written by Geraldine Rodgers, Nurse Consultant for Frailty & Long Term Conditions


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