Title of ArticleExploring how Small Acts of Friendship encourage human flourishing on medical wards for older people
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sMuna Al-Jawad, Joanna Connor and Paola O’Sullivan
ReferenceVolume 10, Issue 2, Article 6
Date of PublicationNovember 2020
KeywordsComics, culture change, experience based co-design, flourishing, friendship, graphic medicine, older persons

Background: Small Acts of Friendship is a project to help make the experiences of older people in an acute NHS hospital more humane.

Aim: This research aims to explore how the project encourages human flourishing on wards for older people, using Dewing and McCormack’s (2017) model. We cover the barriers and emotions brought up by such a project, as well as looking for evidence of flourishing and a flourishing workplace.

Methods: The qualitative method of experience-based co-design was used to set up and evaluate the project. Data consisted of interviews and observations with staff, relatives and patients involved in the project, and were analysed using comics as a tool for an iterative, deep analysis.

Results: The results show how staff and patients responded to the project; the responses have been aligned to stages of Dewing and McCormack’s model. In one area the Small Acts of Friendship project was found to have resulted in a change in culture towards person-centred care.

Implications for practice:

  • Reflecting on the project brought out emotions that might ordinarily remain under the surface of practice for staff who look after older people, so they may need to be supported
  • Hospital wards for older people can make changes towards a flourishing workplace through a project such as this

This article by Muna Al-Jawad, Joanna Connor and Paola O’Sullivan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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