About our project
The Mycarematters System is a secure and effective method for sharing the non-medical information healthcare professionals need about a person, in order to provide them with person-centred, dignified and holistic care.
I’m so excited and proud that Mycarematters has been selected as one of the 9 finalists for the Essex Challenge Dementia Prize. It provides validation of the progress we have made so far, and is a fabulous opportunity to further develop and test the service with the support of the partners that Essex CC has lined up for us.
I developed the first tool, from which Mycarematters evolved, to help carers get to know my late husband who was living with dementia. Mistakes kept happening – in hospital and then in the care home in which he spent the final 13 months of his life – because staff knew nothing about him and were unaware of his needs and preferences.
So I started sticking post-it notes on his bedroom, explaining that Geoff drank his tea black, that his chair needed to be pushed up against the wall to prevent him tipping it over, and other things that he would have said if he’d been able. It soon made sense to turn that mess of notes in to a wall chart, and when the care home manager saw it she asked if I could produce more for her other residents! Long story short, variations of that original chart have since been adopted by over 1,200 care homes throughout the UK.
Hospitals became interested and, whilst our Remember-I’m-Me Care Charts could certainly play a role in helping them care for people with communication challenges, they don’t entirely solve the problem.
We looked at the other products designed to share a person’s needs and preferences when they can’t communicate those things for themselves and identified a number of shortcomings: they tend to be too long, so busy staff don’t have time to read them, they get filed, so they don’t get seen by the people who spend most time with the person, and they frequently get left behind or lost in transit.
The Mycarematters System is designed to address those shortcomings: at its heart is an online tool that enables people to create a profile of the non-medical information that hospital and other care staff need in order to treat the whole person and not just their medical condition, to provide holistic and person-centred care.
Being online it overcomes the problem of a paper version being lost: a person’s Mycarematters profile can be viewed online or printed out by anyone with the person’s name, date of birth and Mycarematters code.
We have kept it short: a Mycarematters profile is a single-sided sheet of information that staff can read in a matter of seconds, with symbols to help them find the information they need quickly and easily.
We ask hospitals to display a patient’s Mycarematters profile behind their bed so that it can be seen by everyone interacting with them and, in order to enable those unwilling or unable to use the internet to benefit from having a Mycarematters profile, we provide hospitals with blanks that can be filled in by hand.
We’ve already had a lot of feedback to confirm that our ‘keep it short and visible’ approach is popular with relatives and staff alike, and we are looking forward to working with Essex hospitals, care homes, home care agencies, and individuals living with dementia and their carers to better understand how we might improve and enhance the impact of the Mycarematters System.