The Central North West London Mental Health Rehabilitation Service (CNWL) promotes digital inclusion to ensure that its service users are not excluded from accessing new developments which could enhance their wellbeing and social inclusion.
CNWL began a project to develop a Digital Health and Wellbeing Plan in partnership with Rix Research & Media, a research centre at the University of East London. Rix has developed a unique multimedia self-advocacy approach to person-centred planning, where people with learning disabilities can use Web and multimedia authoring tools to share their interests and aspirations and better explain the ways that they like to be supported.
Central to this approach is the Rix Wiki. Co-produced with users, parents and professionals, the Wiki is a simple, personal, multimedia website. Using pictures, words, video and sound, service users can show care staff what is important to them in their lives and their support services. The approach includes confidence-building exercises and patient rights based perspective.
CNWL believed the Rix Wiki would be invaluable in supporting those who access mental health services to develop Digital Health and Wellbeing Plans. In September 2014, CNWL undertook a pilot to evaluate the use of a Wiki for people accessing rehabilitation services.
CNWL implemented the pilot within existing resources. Staff in in-patient rehabilitation units, including occupational therapists and an activity coordinator, worked in partnership with a Peer Trainer from the Recovery College. Following online Multimedia Advocacy training provided by Rix, CNWL ran workshops co-produced with the Peer Trainer and service users, using iPads to overcome difficulties accessing IT and Wi-Fi in the rehabilitation units. Staff worked with five individuals to develop personalised Rix Wikis and the Peer Trainer developed his own Wiki plan.
The project sought to improve service users’ self-advocacy skills and self-confidence, supporting positive risk taking and self-disclosure in the therapeutic relationship. It also aimed to shift the focus of the staff/service users’ relationships in Rehabilitation Services from risk monitoring towards the creative encouragement of communication skills.
Feedback from service users and staff was positive. Rix Wikis provide a ‘dynamic extension’ and a ‘step-up’ from the original health and wellbeing plan, allowing individuals to express themselves creatively, update their plans easily, and envisage a more positive future.
“A Wiki allows me to communicate my person and character in a way that is meaningful to me.”
In January 2015, CQC inspectors expressed support for the wider implementation of Rix Wikis.
In September 2015, CNWL, the Recovery College and Rix took forward the work to use multimedia self-advocacy in Mental Health Rehabilitation Services to produce a Digital CNWL Health and Wellbeing Plan.
In January 2016, Rix and the Recovery College completed the development of a Wiki Health and Wellbeing Plan, co-produced with Peer Trainers, and this has been incorporated into the Recovery College’s course ‘Taking Back Control’. The course is now being run throughout this year at the College and rehabilitation units. Staff and Peer Trainers have attended ‘Train the Trainer’ workshops to co-facilitate ‘Taking Back Control’ and ensure the approach is embedded. Peer Trainers are now actively using the Plan.
Service users supported by this approach are using ‘Wiki’ websites to contribute to their care planning and have an increased frequency of social contact as well as shorter average lengths of stay in high dependency settings.
“It is a really fantastic vehicle for celebrating a person’s strengths rather than always focusing on the negative and that is of great value within mental health services. The Wiki is pushing the boundaries of involving people in their own care and being able to advocate for themselves.”
CNWL Peer Recovery Trainer
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