Should social care staff friend people they support on Facebook?

Should social care staff friend people they support on Facebook?

Should social care staff ever friend people they support on Facebook? According to this great paper by Peter Bates, Sam Smith and Robert Nisbet, the default view of social care staff and organisations is a resounding no. This stance is echoed in the proliferation of social media guidelines for health care practitioners that you can find curated here. The authors make a case for a more nuanced response to this question as explored through the lens of support for learning disabled people. They argue that the multi-faceted nature of people’s lives resists the reductive notion of linear personal/professional boundaries implicit within social media guidelines. I have previously blogged about the positive affordances of boundary violation between the personal and professional on online social networking sites.  The authors point to the value of digital inclusion and potential of social media for accessing information and peer support. These ideas are beautifully captured in the context of mental health in a guest post by @positivitysmile. I concur with the authors’ stance that a thoughtful approach to social media is required for health as well as social care practitioners. Use and ethics of social media are not routinely incorporated within practitioner training and in my view this should be integrated throughout the curriculum rather than either ignored or sidelined as a stand-alone session or module. As our online and offline lives become ever more intertwined, health and social care staff will benefit from a sharpened understanding of online social networking both for themselves and people they support. Facebook is not a neutral space I would like to add a few additional thoughts to those...
Fancy a bit of ‘show and tell’?

Fancy a bit of ‘show and tell’?

In Leeds we’re busy establishing the right conditions for mHealth (that is digital tools in health services) to flourish in our city – we want to build a community of people up for collaborating together for the purpose of improving experience and outcomes for people accessing health services in the city. We think that one of the ways to build a community is to provide opportunities for people to come together and share learning in a friendly, informal environment away from the workplace. That’s why we’ve organised our first ‘show and tell’ evening at the new Open Data Institute in Leeds. You can book a free place at the event here. We’ve got a brilliant line up for our first event with people bringing patient, carer and developer points of view. And if you’d like to share your own ideas then there’s an ‘open mic’ spot for anyone who would like to pitch in as well (2 minute slot per person). Here’s are a bit more information about our speakers: John Eaglesham: Developing a digital tool for self-management of chronic pain across a whole care pathway in Leeds John became Chief Executive of Advanced Digital Institute in 2009, and has led the company from its origins as a not-for-profit institute to its current position as a thriving, fast-growing, entrepreneurial enterprise. John contributes to several key industry groups in the Assisted Living and Smart Metering sectors and advises a number of public and private sector policy-making bodies. He is also a qualified executive coach who works with a number of FTSE 250 company directors. Kathryn Grace:   Digital tools to support...
#AboutMeLeeds – 3 lessons in digital participation

#AboutMeLeeds – 3 lessons in digital participation

Do social networking spaces afford opportunities for people accessing health and social care services, citizens and public sector organisations to have conversations about important topics that affect all of us? This was the question we tested out in #AboutMeLeeds which took place during the Leeds Digital Festival and which was supported by local NHS organisations and the council, NHS Employers, NHS Confederation and NHS England. We partnered with Leeds Data Thing to experiment with a social conversation which we hoped might help shape the use of data in our city. You can find out a bit more about what we hoped to achieve here. Leeds Data Thing have posted the results of #AboutMeLeeds with some intriguing insights, such as the fact that most people want access to their health records, but comparatively few have ever done so, and that many have concerns about security of their data. Whilst the results are valuable – I am equally interested in how #AboutMeLeeds worked as a social conversation and the extent to which it proved an effective means of involving citizens in Leeds. What we found is that we have a strongly connected and active health and social care community in Leeds (people accessing and working in services) on blogging platforms and on Twitter. We enjoy talking to each other. A lot! But it also showed that when it came to #AboutMeLeeds, we didn’t permeate out much beyond ourselves to other networks. The citizens of Leeds pretty much let us get on with our chat and got on with other things. Now this gives us some invaluable lessons that we can apply to future...
Sharing the learning – digital innovation in health & social care

Sharing the learning – digital innovation in health & social care

There are two things in particular about Twitter that appeal to me: firstly, I love how I can make connections with others in ways which side-step barriers of time and space; secondly, I enjoy seeing the fruition of those connections – new ideas, support and even projects that occasionally emerge. Digital Innovation in Healthcourses grew from just such a connection I made with digital consultant, Abhay Adhikari , over twelve months ago, initially through the #DigiHealthCon event organised by Claire Jones and then followed up in person.  I’m incredibly grateful to Becky Malby and the Centre for Innovation in Health Management for supporting and partnering with us on this adventure, giving us invaluable advice and helping us extend our reach further. The aim for our Digital Innovation in Health courses is to engender a similar experience to that which I describe above – bringing people working in health and social care together to learn the basics, think about their digital identity and take advantage of the potential of social media for both professional development and in day-to-day practice – making the connections. We have free spaces for people who are keen to use social media in a personal capacity to connect with others who have similar experience of, for instance, long term conditions. There are also courses for people working corporately in involvement, communications and strategic roles to develop how they use social media at an organisational level. But this is only the beginning – already conversations are developing about how we can use Digital Innovation in Health as a hub for people to share learning and collaborate –...
Privacy is dead. Sorry. Health and social care practitioners on Facebook

Privacy is dead. Sorry. Health and social care practitioners on Facebook

 ‘I believe all is public, and professional behaviour is important. Privacy is dead. Sorry’ I recently shared five fundamental questions put to me by health and social care practitioners during a workshop on social media in mental health practice. I was struck by the extent to which participants needed to address their worries and concerns before they could grasp its positive potential. Over fifty health and social care practitioners from across the world kindly shared their answers to those questions, thanks to Anne Marie Cunninghamwho set up an online survey and shared it with her networks. A big thank you also to everyone who took the time to respond, you can find the results here. Below are my reflections to responses to the second question: ‘Can a personal Facebook account be completely private? What if I post a picture of me a bit the worse for wear on a night out – isn’t that ok? Don’t I have a right to a private life?’ Here’s a summary of the key themes: Keep it professional – the vast majority of responses suggested that it is important to keep your Facebook account professional. Some answers focused on the fact that it can be hard to maintain strict privacy settings on Facebook: ‘It is never completely private. If there is something you don’t want other people to see, don’t share it!’ Others focused more on the notion of professionalism in private as well as public life for health and social care professionals ‘we have to lead by example – it’s a way of life’and ‘It is OK to have a personal life but if you are a...