‘Appreciative Inquiry’ the way forward for SocialCare change management

This post is to show how Appreciative Inquiry (AI) can support positive changes in the health and social care market. For those readers unfamiliar with AI please take the time to check out the work of David Cooperider, including – Appreciative Inquiry: A positive Revolution in Change

This post is around recent work that I have been undertaking in turning around a residential/nursing home rated as ‘requires improvement’ from the Care Quality Commission and needing change from local authority and health professionals involved in order to deliver the quality care service expected of an excellent care home provider.

Now before I utilise this post to show how AI is a positive tool to use in achieving desired outcomes, improving goals set and further developing best practice of service delivery, I must say that AI can be used in various different ways of working – including change management, future developments of new service projects and changing cultures of employment, for example.

So back to this post..…….

VCS took on this project off the back of providing an initial comprehensive audit/visit including findings, potential actions and outcomes for the provider in achieving positive changes to become more compliant with regulatory organisations – Positive Change Management

After speaking at length with the owners of the service (1 of which I had previous and current work with) I was able to highlight how AI would support the radical change needed in service delivery to create a service that was safe, meaningful and directly support individual led delivery of care for all people, families/relatives, employees and professionals accessing the service/home.

AI is explained as being a “Collective action designed to evolve the vision and will of a group, an organisation or as a society as a whole” (David Cooperider). For me, understanding how AI can support best practice achievement in health and social care is as follows:

“It’s an energy focus to progress development and delivery through positivity and specifically an awareness of the care service being acknowledged as an organic living entity”

Potential to sound a little scary for traditional corporate management types I am sure, but stay with me. Can I show you how this looks in practice? Well firstly I would love to take you and your business/service through it personally so please get in touch (Contact link) and for these who need more let me continue………

The main function and/or lead focus for AI is the 4D cycle, which is a set of prompts from which you can explore and nurture ideas and new thoughts in order to gain a collective approach on how you are to change and/or develop the outcomes you are looking for.

So again let me return to the example of my recent support of residential/nursing home in turnaround using AI. Using the 4D cycle it looked in simple terms like this:

1D – DISCOVERY: Appreciating and Valuing the here and now to better understand the home, its residents, its employees and its service delivery, whilst gaining a vital platform on which to ‘build new’ and ‘develop existing’ ways of quality person centred care. Prompts include: “What gives the service its life?”, “Describe and highlight the best of what it is and what it does”.

2D – DREAM: Envisioning what an achievable gold standard of personalised quality care supports would look like and how it would be delivered and received by individuals accessing, employees working and relatives/professionals/local community being involved with. Prompts include: “What might it be?”, “Describe or picture the image/model of what the local area is calling for”.

3D – DESIGN: Constructing the future service and how that will be in practice moving forward. Prompts include: “How can it be?”, “Determining the ideal model needed to create and/or develop reaching the gold standard identified”.

4D – DESTINY: Sustaining the developed service in order for it to continue to organically grow and evolve to meet the changing needs of care and people in need of care in the future. Prompts include: “What will it be?”, “Describe or picture the learning, empowerment and continuous improvement that would show sustainability in the future”.

So what has it achieved for the home and service? Well as we stand now the home is in a much safer and secure position; its delivery of care is acknowledged by all professionals involved as greatly improved; residents and relatives have stated how much of an improvement has been noted (shown within a recent HealthWatch visit which received a score of 4.6 out of 5); staff turnover has drastically reduced and retention is greater improved; and finally the home are awaiting the Care Quality Commissions return to complete a comprehensive report into changes made.

David Cooperider explains “Every organisation has something that works right, things that give it life, when it’s most alive, effective, successful and connected in healthy ways to its stakeholders and communities”

For me in the way I use AI in supporting social care organisations and providers is to understand its organic state then identify what is positive, and connect it in ways that intensify energy, vision and positively create actions for real individual person centred changes in care delivery.

I would love for people to follow this up with comments and I would also like the opportunity to speak directly to you and your organisation on how I and VCS can positively support your services.

Till then take care and remember,

“With hope and belief there are no limitations”

Stephen