In a unique project FDAMH has been evaluated by people who use its services! We’re delighted to report that the findings have been extremely positive and resulted in an action plan to help us continue and develop good practice.
When it was suggested that the Scottish Recovery Indicator 2 (SRI 2) be employed to assess FDAMH’s recovery-focus, FDAMH was really keen to put the voice of service-users right to the fore. Members of the Falkirk Mental Health Involvement Group were invited to take on the project, supported by Linda McGonigle, FDAMH’s Service User Involvement Coordinator. This was an excellent opportunity for people who use the service to be actively involved in a very meaningful piece of work. Whilst the tool has been used by teams throughout Scotland, the project undertaken in FDAMH was unique as it was the first time people using a service have been actively involved in its evaluation.
The SRI 2 evaluation tool has been developed by the Scottish Recovery Network (SRN). It helps organisations assess how recovery-focused their practices are. ‘Recovery’ in this sense is defined by SRN as “being able to live a good life, as defined by the person, with or without symptoms”. The tool gives a set of ten indicators which can be applied to each aspect of an organisation and its work.
The evaluation helps services reflect on how they support recovery and it stimulates creative ideas for how they might do so in the future. It identifies existing strengths and allows good practice by staff to be recognised and acknowledged. The tool can be applied to NHS services, Third Sector Organisations and Dementia Services.
The group looked at assessments/care plans, service information leaflets, FDAMH’s website and newsletters. They also undertook numerous interviews and focus groups with staff, carers and people who use FDAMH’s services.
Once all the information was collated a presentation to the staff group was put together which highlighted the good practice that had been commented on and areas for improvement that were noted.
The outcome of the work is an action plan which includes:
1. Challenging the term ‘Recovery’. It was recognised whilst undertaking the evaluation the term recovery can cause confusion amongst many people affected by mental health issues. For example people thought recovery meant “being cured”, “getting better” or “never having mental health issues again”. The staff group have decided they want to come up with language that is more readily understood by individuals at any time in their journey.
2. Reviewing information leaflets. The evaluation found leaflets were of a good standard but could be improved upon by using more recovery-focused language.
3. Including information about ‘Recovery’ in the staff induction programme.
4. Reviewing Service User Involvement. This exercise proved to be an invaluable experience for all of those involved in it. It called upon the strengths and skills of individuals by asking them to carry out presentations, interviewing people and helping collate the information gathered. Additionally it produced meaningful work which made people feel valued and boosted their confidence. It was suggested the group may want to be involved in more projects like this.
We recognise the importance of taking forward the actions identified and this will happen over the next few months.
Next month Linda and one of the group members will have the opportunity to present their work at a Scottish Recovery Network conference in Edinburgh which will be celebrating four years of SRI 2 and the completion of 400 evaluations. Everyone is looking forward to this opportunity, more so because the FDAMH project will be actively highlighted because of its unique service-user led approach.
The Scottish Recovery Network, creator of SRI 2, has been in existence since 2004. The network works for greater awareness and expectation of mental health recovery across Scotland. We would like to thank SRN for their support and interest in our SRI 2 project. You can find out more about Recovery by visiting SRN’s website: scottishrecovery.net.