Health and Social Care

“Hear my voice and return to sender”: hearing the voice of people living in care homes

March 18, 2022 by No Comments | Category care homes, health & social care, Older people

As part of developing our new healthcare framework, we have had many engagement sessions. Hearing the voice of people living in care homes will be an important part of this process. In my second blog about the healthcare framework, I would like to share one of these engagement workshops with you.

“Hear My Voice and Return to Sender” is a collaborative project between Abbotsford Care and the Care Home Hub from Fife Health and Social Care Partnership. The project is exploring new methods of feedback and engagement, supporting the development of the new healthcare framework. The aim was to develop tools for engagement which could be shared with care homes across Scotland. This helps ensure wide representation and engagement, so we can hear the voices of people living in care homes.

Abbotsford Care Hear my voice projectImages from Abbotsford Care

Person-centred activities

Within care homes, many experience cognitive difficulties, so it was important to create exercises which can be enjoyed by a wide variety of individuals. Using fun activities, individuals were asked to consider these questions:

  • What would a good day look like to you?
  • How have you been feeling these last few months?
  • Tell us about the last time that you had to see someone about your health
    • What was that like?
    • What worked well?
    • What didn’t work so well?
    • How could it have been better?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to share?

To answer these questions, individuals took part in four person–centred activities.

The colour scale – getting to know you and what you like. Using the coloured cards, they were asked to order the colours from their favourite to least favourite.

The shape of your care – what does the shape of your care look like? Using plasticine, people who live in care homes were able to create the shape of their own care. They may create shapes which reflect how they feel, or they might recreate recognisable structures like houses or shapes they feel comfortable with.

Abbotsford Care Hear my voice projectImage from Abbotsford Care

What is on your mind? – Using a poster, they were able to complete a mind map form the health professionals and other allied support services who have supported them in the care home.

Return to sender – Each person had a postcard on which they wrote personal experiences of their healthcare. Once they were supported to write their thoughts on their postcard, they “posted” them and then listened to Elvis Presley’s Return to Sender. This was a great opportunity to get everyone moving, enjoying this music and performing the physical action of returning their feedback to the sender.

Abbotsford Care Hear my voice projectImage from Abbotsford Care

What’s next?

These initial sessions allowed them to determine what worked well. So far, they have held trial engagement sessions in five care homes and have engaged with twenty-five people living in care homes. The people living in the care home offered positive feedback about the sessions, and commented that they were “something different”, and that they “really enjoyed that”. After these trial sessions, these are the next steps for the project:

  • Using the campaign hashtag #HearMyVoice, aspects of accessing healthcare and what matters to those who use services can be shared.
  • A box of materials has been created so that other care homes can take part in the activities to encourage engagement. Care home liaison teams are supporting feedback utilising boxes, and the aim is to roll this project out to other care homes.

Final reflections

This is an improvement tool not just for this framework, but a way for people living in care homes to share their views in different ways. One-to-one activities and group conversations are possible through this improvement tool, which represents a positive option that everyone can use.

For more information on the healthcare framework, please contact

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