We recently ran a very successful session to help people think about living well with dementia at Lewisham and Greenwich hospitals

Back in February, we ran a special #MatExp workshop with King's Mill hospital. They were the winners of our innovative competition to win a Whose Shoes workshop. Sally, one of their midwives, #JFDI-ed putting in a fantastic entry complete with a limerick setting out how the workshop would help them. We made a Robin Hood film to announce the winners.

And it was good fun to learn that the new, very dynamic CEO had taken the time to watch the video! πŸ˜€

Suzanne Banks, the chief nurse, came to the maternity workshop and thought the Whose Shoes approach was a great way of engaging with people using services and with staff. She challenged a small group comprising a mum, a midwife and a clinician to go and present to the Exec team to tell them how it all worked.

Suzanne clearly 'got' Whose Shoes. She asked me straight away what other areas I was working in. When I told her about our work in dementia care, and indeed that this pre-dated the #MatExp work, she was very keen to run a dementia specific workshop.

Fast forward to October 10th. It was great to have Alan, head of Adult Safeguarding, setting the scene at Sherwood Forest Hospital with a diverse group of passionate people working to improve dementia care.

Tracey had done amazing preparation. It was lovely to see all the name badges decorated with 'whose shoes'. Just first names. As far as possible NHS badges and uniforms left behind. No hierarchy, just people.

She had managed to prise the board games away from the maternity department, so that we could use the dementia specific scenarios and poems. Somehow they had clearly 'failed' to hand over the bunting – so Tracey made her own! πŸ˜‚

The stack of pledges were ready for the end of the workshop. Could we succeed in firing people up to believe that they can take individual action and 'just do' something they are passionate about to improve things? #JFDI styleπŸ˜‰

To set the scene, we did a short interactive exercise. Go on, be honest, What phrases come to mind or do you hear people say when thinking about dementia? How can we ensure everyone is seen as an individual?

The crowdsourced scenarios explore dementia from all sorts of perspectives. Sherwood Forest had selected the ones most relevant to their quality improvement programme and the outcomes they were hoping to achieve from this initial session. Licensed hospitals can continue to use all the resources to facilitate open, honest conversations for change.

A packed room! Soon the discussions were underway.

And (initially!) a trickle of post-its, recording the key points from the discussions, started to come through to Anna to begin her graphic record. It was a huge piece of blank paper. Would she have enough to fill it? πŸ€“

People liked the poems. They develop empathy in a different way. What is it like to visit your mum in hospital when she doesn't even recognise you and thinks you are the nurse?

The discussions were really passionate and the post-it notes were coming thick and fast!

Tracey was doing a great job theming the post-its for Anna. It kept her busy. It kept me busy too - so many!!

Anna's graphic record was filling up fast and some of the key issues were starting to emerge.

I was thrilled my friend Zoe Harris made the long journey from the south of England to join us. So much lived experience to share, particularly from looking after her late husband who sadly developed dementia. From this experience as a wife and carer, Zoe has created the very popular Care Charts and My Care Matters.

Recognising and valuing the role of the family carer. #NHS staff members often have these caring roles too.

Only a few days before, our friend Chris Roberts, who lives with dementia and is supported by his wonderful wife Jayne, had been making a similar point at the European Alzheimer's conference in Berlin. Go Chris!

That 'allow' word again. Should it really be a case of 'allowing' carers of people in hospital who have dementia to come and see them?

Fantastic to see Sherwood Forest Hospital have signed up to the 'John's campaign'. But what does this mean in practice? Would every member of staff know what this means?

And the role of the community is very important too.

I am proud of the early work we did with Sandra Springett and Alison Waters and other wonderful people, using Whose Shoes to build dementia friendly communities.

Very proud that our oldest (known!) participant at a Whose Shoes workshop was 101 ... and our youngest is four days old!

Anyway, I digress. πŸ€“ Whose Shoes is all about breaking down silos and barriers and thinking "Who is not in the room who perhaps should be in the room...." Meanwhile, the conversations were continuing at Sherwood Forest ... We had the luxury of having a bit longer than usual and this helped people really explore the issues.

Spot the deliberate mistake! There are 14 poems in the maternity version and any 12 poems in this prototype version all the men chicken! Someone got an instruction to pick up poem 14. Oops! πŸ˜‚πŸ‹

Soon it was time for Anna to report back. What were the key messages in the room?

All the way through Whose Shoes workshops we πŸ”₯ fire πŸ”₯ people up to believe they can make a difference - now it was time for the pledges!

Reach out to the wider network through Twitter…

We were delighted Richard Mitchell, CEO, supported the workshop. 'No hierarchy, just people' is a very important concept but support from the top is very important!

So many post-it notes to collect, type up and generally use as part of the ongoing listening and action.

I came up with 3 or 4 ideas of my own!

And likewise Anna was still buzzing the next day!

It was nice to chat to Richard Mitchell afterwards and tell him a little about some of the innovative Whose Shoes work happening in other hospitals.

I loved Victoria's feedback. It is always good when quieter people gain courage to speak out! I look forward to your blog Victoria! πŸ˜‰

I suggested that perhaps my friend Andy Tysoe could come and do a #DementiaDo session, which is like an enhanced Dementia Friends session!

Find out more: @WhoseShoes nutshellcomms.co.uk