Kath’s Experience of Almost 4 Years Working on a NICE Guideline
This post explores Kath’s experience of working on a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline. Her journey began almost 4 years ago. This is when Kath became a Lay Committee Member on transitions from hospital to home for people with social care needs.
It was very interesting to see that despite us all coming from such different backgrounds (professionally and personally), we all agreed that things needed to change, and the person always needed to be at the centre of the decisions made about their lives.
As well as my own experiences of having multiple impairments and high support needs, I believe my work as an advocate for people with complex impairment related difficulties stood me in very good stead. i was able to make practical, common sense suggestions of possible ways to resolve difficult issues. The work was very rewarding, as I could raise issues that may not have been considered had I not been there. I was also able to suggest ways that would strongly benefit the individual and their caregivers, whilst ensuring that staff were supported to carry out their work in an integrated and coordinated way, and without unnecessary delays.
It is challenging but ‘well worth the final result’
I have to admit the work on a guideline committee is exceptionally challenging, simply due to the amount of papers that need to be reviewed. But, it is well worth the final result! The production of essential guidelines and standards for health and social care, which is substantially strengthened by the voice of lay members (including disabled people, people with long term health conditions and carers) is priceless.
In fact, I found the work so rewarding that I went on to join my second NICE Guideline Committee, which focused on Intermediate Care including Reablement. Again, this was something close to my heart as effective intermediate care services ensure that people are supported to learn safe strategies to regain their confidence in performing daily living tasks. In this way, they can remain in their own homes, if they wish to do so. This is vital when it prevents unwanted placements in residential homes and could be responsible to keeping people in hospital unnecessarily. And most importantly, it is far less distressing and disempowering for the individual and their families.
Gaining a better understanding of practical ways
I believe that I benefited personally from the work on the guidelines, as I gained a much better understanding of the practical ways in which health and social care systems worked. However, I have also been able to support many people to gain access to appropriate and timely intermediate care services, which has made a massive difference to the quality of their lives and the long-term impact of their impairment.
I was therefore delighted to be asked to assist in the shaping the Quick Guide for the guideline. It provides you with plain English information about the types of service available, the stages of intermediate care and the professionals who may be involved in providing care. It is designed to give anyone who may need to access intermediate care services the information they need to make an informed decision about whether intermediate care is right for them. In this way, more people know about the value of intermediate care services and how to access them appropriately.
And as intermediate care can make a massive difference to people’s lives, if it is implemented in a co-produced way with the individual, why wouldn’t you want to know about it?