One afternoon, whilst I was visiting my husband in the care home in which he spent the final 13 months of his life, a girl I hadn’t seen before pushed the tea trolley into his room, and asked me how Geoff took his tea. He’d been there a while so I was fairly sure she was new. “The chart on the wall says how he likes his tea,” I point out to her. “Oh yes!”, she says, “I didn’t see that!” She had been working her way down the corridor, so I knew she must have been into at least 6 rooms prior to Geoff’s, and each one of them had a Care Chart clearly visible once you were in the room. She’d have seen them eventually, but had they been mentioned in her training, the home would have had an employee better able to do her job from day one.

The story has a happy ending. A few days later I saw her again, and she was bubbling with enthusiasm. “I’ve been able to have all sorts of conversations when I go round with the tea trolley,” she explained, “because I can ask the residents about the members of their family that are on the chart, and talk about their hobbies, or even just comment on their favourite food or TV programme. Without the chart, it would be difficult to think of something to say.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

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