Pilotlight Action Research

Pilotlight is a co-design project. We are designing together with people who access supports and people who deliver them. We are using the UK Design Council’s ‘Double Diamond’ methodology.

Design Council Double Diamond diagram

As part of the ‘Discover’ phase of the first Ageing Well with Self-directed Support pathway, we asked our East Renfrewshire co-design team to do some action research. They were asked to do some interviews to find out what people in East Renfrewshire think about care and support for older people.

One of the co-design team members, M.Steven, has written about the insights she gained from doing this research:

Tasked by the Pilotlight team to carry out a small survey of East Renfrewshire residents into what they knew about care for the elderly in East Renfrewshire and in particular Self-directed support, I cornered six victims, I mean willing volunteers, at the Kirkton Service in Barrhead and had them complete the Pilotlight questionnaire with me. Of the six, four were carers and two professionals in the social care field.

I was surprised by the breadth of knowledge displayed by the carer group. While only one had any knowledge of self-directed support (I shall return to this later), what they knew about care for the elderly in East Renfrewshire varied greatly. One knew almost nothing which surprised me considering she was already accessing the Kirkton Service, while two claimed to know very little but in fact knew quite a lot, even citing a befriending service I had never heard of and one was very familiar indeed. As would be expected, the two professionals were well versed on the subject.

When it came to what the service users wished to see implemented for elderly people in East Renfrewshire and, despite me reminding them that this was a rare opportunity for them to try and steer policy in the area, sadly most of them had very little to say on the matter and more or less said that they were satisfied with what was already available. One though did make a very useful suggestion, that being for the council (or some other body) to set up a one-stop-shop dementia information service (most likely Internet based) where people could go to find information on dementia in general as well as what they should do and what would be available to support them and the person they care for each stage of the disease. Meanwhile, one of the professionals raised the issue of transport in the area citing the need for significant improvements in vital bus routes connecting different parts of East Renfrewshire. To cite just one example, I subsequently learned at the last Pilotlight workshop that there is no direct bus link between Barrhead and Giffnock, which I find extraordinary!

Turning to the crux of the matter - what the group knew about self-directed support. Again, the respondents varied greatly in their awareness. All but one of the carer cohort knew absolutely nothing about it, while the one who was familiar with it knew a lot. When I asked her how and when she had learnt about SDS she replied that it was through a talk given at a carers’ centre by a member of the East Renfrewshire Self-directed Support Forum (I learnt at the last Pilotlight workshop, that the speaker was Rosalina Rowan).