Royal Bournemouth Hospital Pledge to Make a Difference

Project Engagement Lead, Tommy, was invited to visit Royal Bournemouth Hospital on 22nd March 2017.  Lets hear what Tommy has to say…


Last year I had the great honour to give one of the key note talks at the RCN Congress in Glasgow.

Speaking that day and on the platform was BJ Waltho @bjgw, Vice Chair of the organising committee. 

That day BJ made a pledge to invite me down to speak at Royal Bournemouth Hospital @RBCH_NHS ‏. 

On March 22nd that pledge was fulfilled. 

Firstly I want to thank BJ, Paula, Director of Nursing, Trudi, Matron for Older People, the dementia team Rachel, Michael and all the staff and people who attended for such an inspirational day. 


I had the honour to have a tour of the hospital and witness first hand the commitment and passion to make a difference for people at the hospital the work on the wards to make the environment dementia friendly and passion by the staff brought a smile to my heart. 

I thank you for the kindness, dedication, care and for the warmest of welcomes. 

I will leave with the photo below as the sun was setting on the most amazing day and the wonderful 82 pledges below.

Thank you from myself and all the team at DCV 🙂

I pledge to give my grandchildren an understanding of dementia so they will learn to listen, understand and care – Give them love.

Jenny House

Royal Bournemouth Hospital


I pledge to remember why and who we make chances to the ward environments to help those who need help. To make a calmer to be and to work..

Martin Lovell.

Building States Manager.


I pledge to ensure I use non discriminative language when talking about patients living with dementia, and encourage other to do the same.

Clare Wilcox.

Senior Physio Opal Team.


I pledge to continue listening to patients and to learn something about them and their life, which may help them to feel safe.

Sophie Denton.

Senior Physiotherapist.


I pledge to give time and gifting to the love and care of every patient staff members I am listen to.

Michael Bowen.

Volunteer, chaplain.


I pledge to act as an advocate for every one of my patients and understand each one of their stories.

Rachael Davies.

Lead Dementia Nurse Specialist.


I pledge to make each dementia patients feel and be important asking them what matters to them.




I pledge to get it recognised and supported in own trust.


I pledge to make time to care for all the carers looking after someone with dementia, specially my mum caring for my grandma Marie.

Rachel Crooks.

Improvement administrator.


I pledge to support our staff to have the resilience to look after those who need care through valuing them and helping them to develop personally.

Aimee Bowden.

Organisational Development Advisor RBCH.


I pledge to never ever forget to care.

Cindy Cox.

Consultant nurse.


I pledge to share this story with all new HCA and remind them why we care.




I pledge to listen, listen and care, care, care. “What matters to you?”

Pauline Trickett.

Cardiac Staff Nurse.


I pledge to listen, offer support and comfort.

Jo. Tomlinson.



I pledge to be and look at the person not the illness.

Janice Magookin.

Ward PA. RBH.


I pledge to work with my team to develop a dementia friendly feedback form to give them a voice about the care they receive.

Rachel Bevan.

Head of patient experience and public engagement.


I pledge to treat every person how I would want to be treated and to listen and understand.




I pledge to continue being kind.



I pledge to learn, understand, acknowledge, time thank staff.

Panny Battistotti-Moore.

CST Admin.


I pledge always to treat patients with love, and help to all of those who are scared.


I pledge to ensure I will always listen to my patients and family members’ story.


I pledge to always introduce myself “hello, my name is…” and treat everyone with kindness.

Val Horn.

Discharge Services Advisor.


I pledge to signpost carers where they can get help and support.

Carolyn polden.



I pledge to listen better to see the person not the diagnosis.

Gillian Mansbridge.

Deputy Sister GOPP.


I pledge to never forget again.


I pledge to see the person, not their illness.

Michael Radcliffe.



I pledge to look at people like people and not just patient.




I pledge to keep the love stories alive.


I pledge to never forget that each patients, carers, individual, family member’ is unique. To always remember to find out what matters to each and never forget why I care enough to do that.

Alison Shave.

TIA Specialist Nurse, RBH.


I pledge to ask/ find out each patient’s history, what matters to them, and talk with them about it. To always see and treat each person as an individual and involve and support their families when it was necessary.

Isobel Butter.

Student nurse.


I pledge to get to know my patients as much as I can. Finding out what is important to them.

Jess Brady.

Student nurse.


I pledge to always find out about a person life so I can help them with the thing that matters to them.




I pledge to always be an advocate for people and their families who are living with dementia.

Paula Nenn.

Consultant medicine for the Elderly. RBH.


I pledge to listen more and ask what is important.


I pledge to always listen and find out about people’s story not just the diagnosis.

Amy Brown.

Occupational Therapist.


I pledge to take time to listen, show kindness, remember everyone “life story”

Kate Rowlinson.



I pledge to listen to carers, remember caring and specialist techniques do not come naturally to everyone.

Roz Lees.



I pledge to volunteer as a meal time ward companying and listen, ask “what matters to you?”

Jo Sims.

Associate director Quality and rest RBCH.


I pledge to role model compassion and kindness to everyone I come across during my day, staff, visitors, patients…

Debbie D.

Improvement project head. RBH.


I pledge to treat everyone as I would like my mum to be treated, I will take time and care to find out who they are.


I pledge to continue to be kind and care unconditionally and make a difference to people like you.

Mark Allen Pick.

Occupational therapist, RBH.


I pledge to continue helping families that are getting through the hard times and treat them as I would like to be cared for. I am there for you.

Michael Manley.

Dementia support Worker.


I pledge to continue making a difference to every single patient in my care, ensure I share my story with everyone.

Kelly Lockyer.

Dementia specialist nurse.


I pledge to hold on targets, be part of their lives. I will be with those living with dementia.

Dorothy Rocheler.



I pledge to keep a person love story alive.

Katie Bennett.

Sister Royal Bournemouth.


I pledge to continue listening to patients and families.


I pledge to learn more about dementia, think more before I act.

Andrea MacDonald.

HCA Stroke Unit


I pledge to support patients and their carers through their operation and ensure a safe discharge home..

Belinda Hewett.

RBCH Matron.


I pledge to care and protect and listen to life stories from my patients.


I pledge to do my very best to understand and listen because when it happened to my mum I often got cross and impatient.


Care group Administrator.


I pledge to take more time to listen to carers and sufferers dementia in order to care for them better and give them support.

Gill S.



I pledge to provide extra time for my patients and carers to express their concern/needs prior to undergoing a major operation.

Ryan Grain.

Specialist nurse.


I pledge to not have a pre conceived idea of a person with a diagnosis of dementia as challenging, but instead to meet them with an open mind and going on understanding of why they may be acting challenging.

Jennifer Nayes.

Occupational Therapist, BH.


I pledge not to label and individual who is scared and unwell as challenging.

Zandie MPofu.

Manager HR RBH.


I pledge to always see the person not just their condition.


I pledge to continue to work as a dementia champion for RBH.

Caroline Davies.



I pledge to support and encourage the team and give support to when time are difficulties for them and they need to hear kind and encouraging wards for the amazing work they do.


Admin. Assistant/ Elderly care directorate.


I pledge to understand and recognise loneliness and make time to help lonely friends, family and patients and let them know I am here.

Kate H.

Head of nursing.


I pledge to ask our patients and carers “what matters to you?” and to celebrate their lives and love stories by sharing these conversations I know we will improve our services.

Paula Shobbrook.

Director of nursing/ Deputy chief executive.


I pledge to always find out what matters.

Diane Potter.

Matron, RBH.


I pledge to be more compassionate and understanding to any patient and their families.


I pledge to ask “what matters?” and take the time to listen.


I pledge to address the people by themselves.



I pledge to always listen to someone’ s story and to recognise someone in need. I promise to always have time for everyone and use everything within my power to enable every person a meet to live each day to their best with the support they need.

Lean B.

Student Physio BU.


I pledge to always approach my patients with a smile.


I pledge to listen to people I know whether they are patients, colleges, family, neighbours and be aware of words used to describe patients.

Karen Ismail.

Staff nurse, RBH.


I pledge to stop and spend more time listening to my patient’s feelings.

Sue Reed.

Head of nursing.


I pledge to continue taking time to listen more, giving more support to my patients and learning more about their story.


I pledge to be kind and use my gift of nursing every day.




I pledge to smile, to try to share humour with my patients, to be a role model to try co-workers and promote dignity in care for my residents, to deserve others interactions and give positive feedback and promote engagement with residents.


I pledge to do the best I can when I can.


I pledge to see through the eyes of the carer, I will always smile and be a friendly face.


Practice Nurse.


I pledge to keep the memory of my remarkable parents, burning bright in my heart.


I pledge to remember that everyone I care for is part of a love story.


I pledge to be the best nurse I can and to always see the person and not the diagnosis.

Kelly Moore.

Staff Nurse.


I pledge to be kindness and patience, costs nothing.

Sue Burr.

Retired nurse.


I pledge to not allow people to be defined by dementia, I will focus on what people can do not what they cannot do, and I will ask, listen and be kind and carer.

Kathy Moore.



I pledge to take time to truly understand what matters the most to my patients, decisions mean the most when they are meaningful and have been made in partnership with sharing and listening.

Daisy de Meester.

Student Physiotherapist, Bournemouth Uni.


I pledge to always fulfil my duty to play the best role that I can in my patient’s journeys. I will treat these humans with the uniqueness individuality, dignity that they deserve just like I would like to receive if in the same position.

Shannon Saundrs.

2nd year student Physio. Bournemouth Uni.


I pledge to meet my patients with the same warmth and kindness that I would want to receive.

Felicity Brown.

Student Nurse.


I pledge to make others aware of how they can impact on everyone’s lives.

Sue Robathan.

Bank Nurse.


Posted in "You Can Make a Difference" Pledges

Glasgow University School of Nursing Pledge to Make a Difference

Thanks to Jane Joy, Senior Lecturer at Glasgow University School of Nursing for inviting Tommy to speak to 1st Year Nursing Students on 20th March 2017.

Tommy has the great honour of speaking at the University a few times before including being a guest speaker at Staff Nurse Development Days.

We are proud of this ongoing relationship with the University.  Last Year we also worked  in Partnership with Tommy, ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather, Jane and the University on the letters we receive from people living with dementia, families and carers.  You can view the published report below or a download free summary.

A joint article has been published between the ALLIANCE and the University of Glasgow, based on the letters Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw collected from carers across Scotland. These letters have been analysed by Jane Joy and Diane Willis from the University of Glasgow, with the results of their study now available:

Examining Dementia Caregivers’ Experiences, Link to FULL published Article The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.59-72, November 10, 2016. By Jane Joy, Thomas James Whitelaw, Irene Oldfather and Diane Willis.


Thank you Jane and the wonderful students for another brilliant day and the wonderful pledges below.

From all the team #DCV

I pledge to NEVER let anyone’s diagnosis of dementia influence or override how I view them as a person.  Everyone’s far too important and special for that.

Tammy Hudson – Student Nurse


I pledge to always fill in the getting to know me cards and sit with a person to discuss these things.  NEVER refer to a person with dementia as “demented”.

Olivia Askew – Student Nurse


I pledge to listen to people’s stories.  To take time to ask what matters to them.  To try and help ease people`s fear.

Deborah Cloke – Student Nurse University of Glasgow


I pledge to spend even if it is a small amount of my time specifically to patients and their loved ones in order to make sure that they feel loved.

Julie – Student Nurse


I pledge to always look for and find the person that I am caring or underneath the illness and the fear, and I will do all I can to help them continue to be the amazing person that they are.

Valerie Sinclair – Student Nurse Glasgow University


I pledge that I will be a nurse that makes a difference and someone says that their life was better because I was in it. That no matter how hard nursing gets I never give up.


I pledge to take time during work/placements to find out more about the actual patient, their life, what matters to them and not only be concerned with caring for their physical ailments.


I pledge to continue the story of Joan Whitelaw and my own experiences of when that special someone’s done something small to make a huge difference.  Do whatever I can to make people feel less scared.

Demi McGeady – Student Nurse Glasgow University


I pledge to look past medical diagnosis and see the real patient to not ignore people who just need someone to talk to.

Euan Macintosh – Student Nurse Glasgow University


I promise to never cut corners with care.

Jessica Watson – Student Nurse Glasgow University


I pledge to take the time with everyone to make sure that they know there is someone who carers and will listen.

Mollie – Student Nurse


I pledge to make sure that I always remember to show kindness to others and let them know that they are loved and are never alone.

Tazmin Alison –  Student Nurse Glasgow University


If someone is scared I will sit and listen to them and do anything I can to help reassure them.

Hannah – University of Glasgow


I pledge to take the time to find out more about my patients and their family.

Megan – Uni of Glasgow Student Nurse


I pledge to take the time to view the patient as a person with a story rather than a person with an illness.

Shona Gilmour – Student Nurse


I pledge to always make my nan proud and care for all my patients with the love and compassion I would give to her.

Ellie Cooper – BNI University of Glasgow


I pledge to always put the person before the condition.

Cameron Easton – BNI University of Glasgow


I pledge to NEVER walk past someone who has been incontinent and hope someone else sees them.

Reid Fraser Candlish – Student Nurse @ University of Glasgow


I pledge to always see my patients as a person first and foremost.

Ewan Thomson – Nursing Student UofG


I pledge whenever I meet a patient I will find out about them not their illness.

Ross Campbell – Student Nurse


I pledge to take the time to listen and get to know people and their life stories.  To really provide person centred care.

Paul Robertson – Student Nurse Glasgow University


I pledge to try my best at all times to make a difference to someone’s life no matter how small.

Hannah Munro – Student Nurse University of Glasgow 


I pledge to make everyone’s day better and happier.

Rosie – Student Nurse University of Glasgow


I pledge to always be kind and help both patients and everyone I meet on my journey as a nurse.  To always try and remain positive and bring hope and happiness in all aspects of my life.

Molly Pagan


I pledge to provide the best care to all patients I look after my career and treat them with the same respect that I would like members of my family to be treated and to spend time getting to know my patient.

Rebecca – Student Nurse


I pledge to provide the best care to each and every one of my patients.  Get to know my patients personally to allow them to place their trust in me.

Stephanie To – University of Glasgow Student Nurse


I pledge to provide kindness and care for those who need it.  I will take the time to listen.

Kirsten Windram – Student Nurse


I pledge to always communicate with patients to the best of my abilities.  To help patients feel as relaxed as possible.

Rebecca Aitken – Student Nurse


I pledge to make an effort to get to know every patient as a person.  Taking time to listen.

Emma Speirs – Student Nurse


I pledge to make every effort to understand everybody’s past, present and their hopes for the future, and to enable these hopes to the best of my ability.

Verity Stuart – Student Nurse, University of Glasgow


I pledge to try my best to do everything to help and support people and their families.  Not only to improve their illness/condition but to put things/support in place to better people’s lives.  To do the best to provide high quality care, support and compassion.

Natasha – Student Nurse University of Glasgow


I pledge to do my best to provide the best care possible to both my patients and in my personal life, regardless of my personal needs.  I will also try to continue to ensure I maintain my own personal needs whiles helping others.

Natasha – Student Nurse University of Glasgow


I pledge to try and always call patients by the name they want to be called, never their bed number or condition, always making them feel comfortable.

Heather Trayner – Student Nurse


My pledge to the people that I care for is to treat each of them life part of my own family what I would want for my own family members.  Ensuring I take the time to listen and provide the best care possible.

Erinn Carlton – University of Glasgow Student


I pledge to be the best nurse I can possibly be.  To treat everybody the way I would and be there for them on their best and worst times.

Yasmeen Kor – University of Glasgow Student Nurse


I pledge to let everyone I ever care for know they are not alone and that I will always be there for them.


I pledge to try to help people feel ease and supported when they are not feeling their best or are feeling low.  To take time and be the person that holds their hand and makes them feel that little bit better.

Rachel Jaxon – Student Nurse


I pledge to involve every individual I care for in all decisions made about their care.

Posted in "You Can Make a Difference" Pledges

Caring for Mum

Today`s guest blog post from Allison Tait @Allisonrtait 

Allison is the Co-Chair at the Scottish Practice Nurse Association.  Allison is writing this as a daughter.

Lets see what she has to tell us.

Allison with her mum Betty. 

After work we used to pop into Mum on the way home for a chat.  However over the last few years Mum has become more frail.  Mum began to fall and lost the ability to write, or remember a PIN number for bank cards but was keen to live in her home she had shared with dad and all it’s memories.  One day I found Mum lying on the floor, her arm had caught on the bed support that helps you get out of bed and was badly damaged.  She had a urine infection which probably contributed to the fall and which then lead to delirium.  The effects were devastating and changed not just Mums life but ours too.  She spent the next four months recovering in hospital but never back to where she had been, no longer able to walk or even stand and with the dementia now advanced so she was not able to live on her own.  Difficult conversations with medical staff about not resuscitating were had, and luckily we knew Mums wishes but it is still hard to have that conversation.  Early on we decided to try and bring Mum home to live with us.  My husband was the first to say look let’s do this, he grew up with grandparents living in the family home so that wasn’t an issue and without his full support it would have been too hard.  Mum is now extremely frail with advanced dementia and we had a conversation with her General Practitioner to share mum’s wishes for the future.  The anticipatory care plan has to be shared with the health care professionals, out of hours, ambulance, carers etc.  This is enabling us to care for Mum at home and to make her end of life care as dignified as can be amongst her family in a home environment.

Fortunately we had a spare room but it wasn’t entirely suitable and the occupational therapist was invaluable in arranging equipment to make the room work.  Lots of factors are involved when bringing a relative to live with you.  We have a care package to help us: 4 times a day with 2 carers. We just could not manage to continue to work and care for Mum without reliable care.  My advice to anyone in similar situations is try and get as organised as you can.  Simple things, think it all out like who is collecting medication etc.  Friends have said they could not manage such intrusion into their home but our view is that it is a very minor inconvenience and you have to cross that bridge if it happens.  You don’t always know your strength and this is our family.

The day starts early giving Mum breakfast before the carers come for their first visit, keeping up to date with laundry, all before heading out to work.  Practical stuff.  It is important to keep on top of supplies that mum needs ranging from disposable napkins to specific food that Mum can swallow. Our kids are away from home but are back regularly and we have encouraged them to still have friends to stay, everyone pops their heads round the door to say hello and a wee chat.  Occasionally we see glimpses of the Mum we remember but this is happening less and less and now we are really looking for the good moments.  Dad and Mum were married for over 50 years, they met when Mum was 15 and started dating when 18 years.  They had a lifetime of memories but she seems to have lost them now and never mentions him and doesn’t recognise photos of him anymore.  Hallucinations are common and are difficult for us all as they trouble her greatly but seem to occur less often now she is at home.  Mum adores our dog and she pets her when she becomes anxious.  Mum will often be forthright in her views on a matter to us but never has anything but kindness to the dog.

We don’t know the future. It could be that we are not always able to care for Mum at home as a result of our own health etc and at some point we may need to look at a nursing home for Mum and I think anyone who cares for someone at home knows this is always a possibility.  Mums’ General Practitioner is great and the district nurses are supportive when we need their services.  There are situations where pain has become an issue and a nurse from the palliative care team has become involved to help us understand how we know when someone with dementia is in pain. It’s hard to read Mum for symptoms as someone with dementia looses the ability to articulate how they feel.  You just can’t assume if they appear well that they are not in pain.  There are some subtle changes with Mum now more confused and anxious.  It’s hard to recognise them and you need to know that person very well.  Would we recognise delirium again? I can’t say with confidence we will but we are aware that Mum is at increased risk of it occurring again.

The benefits to having Mum living with us may not be shared by everybody and it may be hard looking at us to understand but there is huge comfort having Mum live with us; it’s right for our family.  The challenges are greater than anything we have ever undertaken.  Watching someone you love fade away was always going to be difficult, we might have run marathons in the past and climbed multiple Munro’s but being a daughter and a carer in these circumstances is something much bigger on a 24/7 basis especially when you open your eyes.

I love this picture of Mum she would be on her friends boat who did fishing on her way to Tiree to help with the harvest of other friends. Betty loved doing that in her hols.


Posted in 'Viewpoint' Blog Posts

Remembering mums across the world on Mother’s Day

The days we laughed

The days we cried

The days we shared the loss, the broken heart,

So it was less than half as hard.


The days we smiled,

The days we played ,

The days we danced,

The days we sang

Those were the best days

To remember forever.


The days we loved ……

the flowers, the sunshine, the rainbows, the waves, the birds,

the laughter and the tears of joy.


The memories ……

that can never be let go

That live in our hearts forever


But you – a part of me – and I of you –

so part of me died too.

But still you rescued me through the flowers, and the rainbows and the waves and the birds – for you loved the birds,

And the laughter and the tears of joy –

you wouldn’t let me go

to that too sad place.

And so the snowdrops and the birds and the words –

that was MY mum.



Remembering the love of mums on Mother’s Day.


By Irene Oldfather



Posted in 'Viewpoint' Blog Posts, Poetry Week

Every hand has a pledge. Every pledge holds a hand – RCN Ayrshire & Arran add pledges

Massive thanks to Julie Lamberth @joolz123 Maternity Theatre Nurse, Chair and Stewart Donnelly @stewartrd  and all at the RCN Ayrshire & Arran Branch for arranging a brilliant event at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock on 18 March and inviting Tommy along.

Tommy was joined be our great friend Amanda Johnson @AJjohnso10 Improvement Advisor for NHSAAA, one of the original team who we worked with on our Make a Difference NHSAAA Tour and Andrea Boyd @AndreaBoydahpmh Senior, Occupational Therapist NHSAAA and founder of the inspiring pocket ideas, who both facilitated the brilliant second session.



There was such a wide range of people who had given up  their own time to attend on a Saturday morning, who work across the many areas. The day was truly inspiring and full of great people, conversations and learning.





Some of the key themes from the day were picked out in the work cloud.

Thank you to the RCN Ayrshire &Arran @rcnAandAbranch for creating such a brilliant day and atmosphere all about people and relationships. 

We love the holding hands with the pledges from the day display and the wonderful people who took part .

Thank you from all the team at #DCV 

You can read some pledges from the day below .

My pledge is to make time for, and make myself available to, patients relatives to discuss care planning and learn more about that individual’s life.


My pledge is to continue to care for my residents with dementia with love, understanding, be there for them and including both residents and family member at any given time or day.

Emma Dalle – Staff Nurse, Karma Healthcare Agency


I will play my part. I will be kind. I will be patient. I will listen. I will make a difference.

Michele – Charge Nurse (GGCC)


I pledge to always ensure I make a positive difference to lives of my patients and their family or carer.

Alison – Community Heart Failure Specialist Nurse


I pledge to always see the person, not the dementia and to continue to treat people how I would expect myself or family to be treated.

Amy Brownie – Ambulance Technician, Scottish Ambulance Service


I pledge to take more time, spend less time worrying about next job that has to be don’t. Take my ideas forward.


I pledge to be patient, to listen and understand. To treat each person as an individual and be able to understand their own needs.

Hayley Williamson – Ayrshire College Student


I pledge to always see the people for who they are and not their condition, to always listen to their stories and always care.

Claire Kyle – Assistant Manager, Hansel Alliance


My pledge is to make sure that the people I care for feel loved every single day and feel worthy.

Morag Wilson – Senior Carer


My pledge is to keep the person at the centre of their “conversation”

Fiona McLeod – District Nursing Sister. North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership


I pledge to take the time to listen to each individual – not group a condition.


I pledge to listen. To see the bigger picture. To try and channel the inspiration I felt from Tommy`s journey.


I pledge to take the initial opportunity to speak to family member of person with dementia and find out more information in order to assist that person to become more familiar with their everyday needs.


I pledge to continue with my voluntary work, sharing my lived experience to influence real change “Teamwork makes all our dreams work – together forever”

Lorna Walker – Community Staff Nurse/Ayrshire and Arran/NDCAN


I pledge to let the spirit of human understanding and compassion guide me…

Fiona Lundie – Free-lance RCN/Lecturer/Health and Social Care Assessor/Trainer


I pledge not to be disillusioned by other negativity. To promote listening and support fellow members of staff, carers and those affected by dementia. Taking thoughts, requests forward when needed, and always make yourself approachable.

Julie Leitch – Staff Nurse


I pledge to be kind and compassionate each and every day.

Chloe Stevenson – Senior Carer/Student Nurse


I pledge to never forget how I feel first hand dealing with dementia, within my family. I pledge to always listen to the person, family and carers to understand and do my best to care, be kind and help.

Claire Connolly – Nursing Assistant


Posted in "You Can Make a Difference" Pledges

Dementia Carer Voices Newsletter March 2017

New member of the DCV Team


I’m William Griffiths, the newest member of the DCV Team. I started three weeks ago, and have been finding my feet with the various projects the ALLIANCE run. I like working with DCV as it’s a great programme and all the days are different from one another. I will be supporting the team’s research work, blog, social media output and writing newsletters.

I attended Tommy’s talk at New College Lanarkshire and was touched by Tommy’s story and how he inspired the audience and highlighted the importance of caring in the health and social care professions.

This month I have written the newsletter for the first time. I hope you enjoy it.

You can read my bio here.


ALLIANCE Director Irene Oldfather speaks at SPSO event

ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather, spoke at the launch of the SPSO’s latest report ‘Informed Consent: Learning from Complaints’ on the 2nd March. The launch event, held in the Scottish Parliament, highlighted cases of inadequate consent procedures in Scottish hospitals and explored the context and reasons for consent not being properly obtained.

Irene spoke about failures of consent from the point of view of service users, especially situations when a person with reduced capacity may have difficulty, but all options should be explored. She highlighted the importance of consulting with the next of kin or welfare attorney of a person with dementia to discuss the person’s treatment and options of care.


She argued that the report went right to the heart of a rights based approach to health and wellbeing. Giving or refusing consent to medical treatment is an essential component of the right to autonomy, and is a key human right. Two people with exactly the same illness might make different choices about their treatment depending on what matters to them. This report can help ensure that staff, families and carers all understand the importance of consent in medical procedures.

EESC Plenary Session 22nd and 23rd February

ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather attended the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Plenary Session in Brussels on the 22nd and 23rd February. There she participated in several events and discussions. Including a debate about the implications of Brexit for Scotland, Northern Ireland and London with the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy group, and a discussion of the future makeup of the EESC Committee.

As the representative for Third Sector organisations in Scotland at the EESC, Irene will be writing a newsletter of her work in Brussels for the SCVO. You can also read her report from the Plenary Session here.

rsz_eesc (1)

Dementia Carer Voices visits Northern Ireland

Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw was honoured to speak at the Nursing and Midwifery Conference in Northern Ireland and the Alzheimer’s Society Northern Ireland annual conference on the 8th March.

One of the audience members at the Nursing and Midwifery Conference drew a sketch of Tommy which we felt captures the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign.


The NHS WM Leadership Awards and a Poem by Dreadlock Alien

On Tuesday February 28th, our Project Engagement Lead, Tommy, was honoured to give the keynote address at the NHS West Midlands Leadership Academy Recognition Awards.

It was an inspiring event and wonderful to hear of the dedication, passion and stories from all the nominees and winners. Many thanks to Suzanne Harris Director of the WM Academy and all the team for the kind invite.


The event was hosted by ‘Dreadlock Alien’ from the West Midlands, a wandering wordsmith and poet, who brought together the story of the people and day.

After Tommy had left the stage ‘Dreadlock Alien’ presented him with this moving poem that he has written while Tommy was speaking.

This poem captured so many of the things important to Dementia Carer Voices and the work we do.


New College Lanarkshire Pledges to Make a Difference

Massive thanks to Kate Mackay, Lecturer, Clare Flynn, Head of Faculty, Lynn Orr, Craig Ruxton and Margaret Henderson for kindly inviting Tommy to speak to Senior Health and Social Care Students who attend New Lanarkshire College, Coatbridge Campus.

Tommy was joined by Kerry Ritchie from our ALLIANCE Involvement Network, Gerry Power from People Powered Health and Wellbeing and our very own Dementia Carer Voices, William Griffiths. The day was truly inspiring and full of great people from all the staff and students, as we launched the New Lanarkshire College Pledge Tree.

We look forward to hearing how the staff and students get on with the wonderful pledges below. Thank you to all for a brilliant day from all the team at DCV and the ALLIANCE.

“I pledge to always ask people about their lives and family and what they like and mater to them the most.” – Courtney Haley

“I pledge to always ask people about their lives and love stories and what and who matters to them.” – Emma

“I pledge to always listen to someone’s love story.” – Karen Fowler

All the pledges can be viewed on our blog.

If you would like to contact us or make a pledge you can by emailing or tweet us at @DementiaCarerVo

Older People in Acute Care Improvement Programme Delirium Video Links


Wednesday 15th March marked World Delirium Day. In order to raise awareness and knowledge about delirium the Older People’s Acute Care team has created a series of three videos to complement existing work on delirium care.

The videos could be used in a variety of ways to continue to raise awareness of the importance of listening to family members and to further engage a range of partners. The videos highlight three individual stories told by women of their mothers’ experience of delirium.

In addition, key messages from all three stories are reflected in separate brief video clips focused on First Signs, Causes, Experiencing Delirium and Help & Reassurance. These shorter segments could be used for teaching sessions, to generate discussion as part of presentations and at conferences and exhibitions to match the needs of individual audiences.

All these videos can be viewed on our blog here.

Missing Me by Tracey Shorthouse

This month Tracey Shorthouse contributed a poem called ‘Missing Me’. You can follow Tracey`s story via @TraceyShorty28 and find out more over on her blog.

Please read the poem here.

Future DCV events

Keep up-to-date with events DCV are attending over the next month. To find out more, see our “Get Involved” page over on our blog.

SAVE THE DATE: What matters to you day 2017

‘What matters to you? day is being held on 6 June 2017, please save the date and plan now for how you might join in on the day.


The aim this year is not only to encourage and support more meaningful conversations, but also to focus on the action that needs to happen in response to these conversations to deliver the care and support people really need and want.


Dementia Carer Voices’, Tommy Whitelaw, represents @ALLIANCEScot on the “What matters to you” steering group and has been working with carers and people with long term conditions to find out what matters to them. Take a look at our “What matters to you” case studies and podcasts.


We know from experience and evidence that the effect of focusing on what really matters to people can lead to improvements in the quality and effectiveness of what we do.  Having a better understanding of what is important to people also helps develop relationships that provide the support and help people need to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

Last year, ‘What matters to you?’ day had more than 520 health and social care teams across Scotland making a special effort to have more person-centred conversations with the people they work with. In addition to this, more than 100 teams from 13 countries joined our Scottish initiative. You can read more about it in our ‘What matters to you?’ day 2016 report at:

‘What matters to you?’ day is being supported by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, the Minister for Public Health and Sport and the Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing. They will be getting involved on the day as well as sharing messages of encouragement and good practice in the run-up to 6 June.

The Scottish Government and Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s person-centred health and care team will also be supporting health and social care organisations practically to participate in the day by providing advice and resources through the website at

To ask questions or find out more, please contact the person-centred health and care team at

Posted in News

Trinity Hospice Pledges to Make a Difference

Thank you to Nicky Parkes, Clinical Manager Adult Services, Julie Huttley, Clinical Director, David Houston, Chief Executive and all the staff who attended across all departments at Trinity Hospice for kindly inviting Tommy along to give 2 talks. You can follow the Hospice on Twitter at @trinity_hospice 

Nicky met Tommy at a conference and made a pledge to invite him to visit the Hospice, meet the staff and speak about the project and his caring experience.

Trinity hospice is situated in the Fylde coast and cover Blackpool CCG and Fylde and Wyre CCG. The Fylde coast has a resident population of 360,000 people approx. Trinity Hospice is a registered charity and support many patients with life limiting illness and those important to them. Offering a range of services that span hospital and community, providing 24 hour access to care and advice that include:

  • Clinical nurse specialist teams in community and hospital
  • 20 bed in-patient unit
  • Day therapy services
  • Counselling and bereavement services
  • Education Teams that support care homes
  • Hospice at Home night service

The day was a truly inspirational. meeting everyone and learning about the great work that they do.

Thank you from all the #DCV team for the kindness and wonderful pledges below.


I pledge to take more time to listen to my patients’ stories / life before their diagnosis.

Samantha Moore – Staff Nurse Trinity Hospital


I pledge to continue to support my team. To support the people we care for.

Sarah Roberts – Team Leader Clinical Nurse Specialist Team.


I pledge to support “What matters to you?” and “Who matters to you” is embedded within the care and support of patient’s known to Trinity Hospice.

Julie Huttley – Clinical Director


I pledge to help carers in my practice stopping isolation. Stop isolation care for the carer. Promote awareness of help for everyone – to stop isolation.


I pledge to continue to care. Think more about how have I made you feel today? Listen to “What matters to you”?

Josie Phillips – Sister Trinity Hospice


I pledge to spend time finding out about the person and their families story of life rather than their presenting condition.

Alison Jones – Advanced Nurse Practitioner Trinity Hospice


I`m not a carer, but I can make everything run smoothly behind the sense so that others can are. I will also share Tommy and Joan`s story.

Helena Lavin – Finance and Retail Director Trinity Hospice


I pledge to be the best nurse I can and hold someone’s hand and listen every day.

Michelle McKie – Senior Staff Nurse Trinity Hospice


I pledge to spend more time listening to patient’s stories.

Vicky Rashid – Staff Nurse Day Unit


I promise to keep listening to and loving the stories behind the names on the and the carers, in our lives.

Jo Allutt – Trinity


I pledge every day of my working life I will always take the time to listen and care, show kindness.

Marie Borris – Trinity Hospice Blackpool


My pledge is to always listen, to stop people and ask them if there ok. To make sure I listen and act only on the things people would like me to act on.

Claire Frith – Palliative Care Nurse Trinity Hospice Blackpool


I pledge to act upon what is important to each of my patients and their loved ones.

Patrick Blencowe – Senior Staff Nurse in Patient Unit Trinity Hospice


I pledge to ensure I care for all people to the best of my ability and give them the best care I possibly can.

Samantha Gill – HCA Trinity Hospice Day Therapy Unity


I pledge to take out “What matters to you” and “Who matters to you” out to the care homes.

Vivienne Trott – Trinity Hospice and Palliative Care Services


My pledge is to always treat my patient’s like I do my own mum take the time to understand how their life is right now.

Anne-Marie Wilkinson – HCA Trinity Hospice


Tick Tock Tick Tock. So, busy and watching the clock. Taking a minute to dispel the fears upon the face with a friendly smile and warm embrace.

Julie Olsen – Associate Clinical Nurse Specialist


My pledge is to ensure the counters have a national 24/7 dementia helpline. Scotland and Wales have one but not England and NI. There are moves afoot to set this up. Hopefully there will be one soon.

Derek Fisher – Via Email


Posted in "You Can Make a Difference" Pledges