An adolescent secure mental health unit in Hampshire, has launched the use of innovative graphic and communication tools to support young people to understand and become more involved in their care.
Shared Care and Communication is a project which supports young people and staff work to together towards recovery by developing tools and strategies to help young people engage fully in their care and decision making. It also works towards creating an Inclusive Communication Environment, which enables an environment where a level of communication is used that is accessible to all regardless of ability. Part of this project has included developing bespoke graphic templates that support this process and communication for all.
The young people currently at Bluebird House will start using the graphic facilitation tools and talking with staff about how to use them. All parents and carers will be invited to attend the Carers Forum to find out more.
Shared Care and Communication supports the units ‘shared decision making’ which allows young people to access information about their care. It is an empowering tool to help individuals to be directly involved in co-creating treatment plans supporting their recovery. Our young people have been engaged in the process of helping to develop the style of symbols being used.
Rather than receiving long detailed documentation when young people are admitted to the service possibly feeling ill, vulnerable, and alone and scared. Shared Care and Communication offers them a condensed simple symbolised drawing which explains the next steps of their care and captures their thoughts and feelings throughout their stay. One of the tools is a ‘young person’s’ book, which allows a young person to document, their key needs, likes, dislikes, communication preferences and information that will support anyone working with the young person.
Staff members have been trained to develop symbolic templates using the graphic facilitation skills. Along with young people who are in our care, our staff have developed a graphic service model of care, care plan, feedback questionnaire and several one to one treatment templates for the unit to embed within the service.