Using positive engagement to fill in the gaps

Last week I met a lovely young woman whose brother had died from a brain tumour 10 months earlier.  She felt that she could tell me about this because I met her in a work capacity and she had already listened to me talking about grief and my own struggles to find a way through traumatic bereavement. As we talked, she opened up a bit more and started telling me how she was feeling.  I haven’t been able to get the conversation out of my head and the more I thought about it, the more I felt the need to …

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Family knowledge in a mental health crisis: Dorit Braun

I’ve had a few experiences of a loved one having some kind of breakdown or mental health crisis. What I have learnt is that the process of assessing a person in crisis takes very little, if any, account of the knowledge of the person’s loved ones/family/carers. The mental health crises that I have witnessed involved a person losing their mind and becoming psychotic. If you read about psychosis from people who have experienced it and survived, it is clearly absolutely terrifying. It can feel to them like everything in the world is directed at them – e.g. the TV speaks …

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Navigating – an advocacy story

Trying to do a good job when you’re not completely sure of what you’re doing is difficult and can be very stressful. I think it happens to all of us. Most of us navigate our way through this by turning to a colleague and saying “I’m not sure how to do this, can you help?” and that support makes a huge difference to your stress levels and your ability to do the job well. But what if there is no-one to ask? What if there is no one you to turn to? Through MFC I’ve met many family members who’ve suffered a traumatic …

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The importance of difficult conversations

Last week I was speaking at a healthcare conference in London run by HC-UK. The majority of delegates were senior clinicians and management from NHS Trusts and private healthcare providers. At the end of my presentation, I asked for questions. There were some very good questions (some of which I’ll come back to in future blogs) and one that stood out for me was a question from a clinician who heads up an NHS Trust team. He asked, “how do I deal with the problem of my staff not knowing how to have difficult conversations with families after a serious incident?” I asked him …

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Making Families Count – 1st National Conference

There’s no doubt that for the great majority of people who choose to work in healthcare, the great driving force is a desire to be a force for good. Hardly anyone sets out to make mistakes or plans to do harm. And yet, every year there are serious incidents in patient safety and some of these incidents, sadly result in death. Some of these deaths are unavoidable, some are not. While no-one can bring back greatly loved family members, how the healthcare provider works with the family after a death can make an enormous difference to the way the death impacts on them. All …

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“Misguided and Dangerous”

It was announced on Wednesday 17 July that the NHS has decided to stop funding the automatic investigation of all killings by mental health patients. This announcement took many people totally by surprise, and in the case of families bereaved by mental health homicide, shock and horror.  Making Families Count member and founder of the influential charity Hundred Families, Julian Hendy is quoted in the Guardian article which blew the lid on this astounding decision by NHS England.  You can read the article in full here: Cuts to study of killings by mental health patients ‘put people at risk’ In response …

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Getting to know Making Families Count – Jan Sunman

This is the third of a series of blogs in which the members of Making Families Count write about their personal journey and why working with MFC means so much to them.  This blog features MFC Director Jan Sunman. I became involved with Making Families Count, after the death of Connor Sparrowhawk who died whilst in the care of Southern Health Foundation Trust. I was invited to join the team by Julie Kerry, (then lead investigator at NHS England South for the Thames Valley area). Julie brought together a group of families with experiences of having lost loved ones and …

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Making an impression at the Patient Safety Congress

This time last week I was at the Patient Safety Congress in Manchester. I had an excellent time and met so many interesting and impressive people. It was also an opportunity to do a lot of networking (which is always so valuable) and meet up with people I’ve worked with in the past and now seldom see. It was an impressive event. Really well run, really well organised and incredibly well attended. There were over 1000 participants and almost 450 delegates, presenters and speakers. Over 2 days I went to a hugely varied number of presentations and talks and while some of …

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Getting to know Making Families Count – Rosi Reed

This is the second of a series of blogs in which the members of Making Families Count write about their personal journey and why working with MFC means so much to them. ROSI REED (Administrator – Making Families Count) I’m proud of working for Making Families Count but the price I’ve paid to do this work was very, very high. Looking back to my early life it would seem to be unlikely that I’d end up working with a company like MFC. I left school at 16 with no qualifications, no ambitions and no plans. Not long after I had …

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Getting to know Making Families Count – Stephen Habgood

This is the first of a series of blogs in which the members of Making Families Count write about what drew them into the work they do and how they feel about it. It’s another way of getting to know the individual members of MFC and gaining a better understanding of our work. STEPHEN HABGOOD (Director of Making Families Count) “Soon after I was appointed as Chair of PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide in 2010 I put together a newsletter article in which I raised my concern about the way the Trust investigated my son’s suicide. As a former prison service …

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