Managing a long term health condition

An example of how a person introduced to one-page profiles in a professional capacity used the approach in their personal life to help manage a long-term health condition.

Jo Greenbank's one-page profile

Jo Greenbank’s one-page profile

Written By Dimensions

Jo is 36 year’s old. She was diagnosed with endometriosis five years ago. There is no cure for endometriosis, but Jo has had a number of surgical and medical treatments to try and manage the condition. In 2011, Jo started working for Dimensions, a person-centred organisation who supports people with learning disabilities and autism, and who use person-centred thinking in all areas of their work.

Jo has been using the person-centred thinking tools as part of her role, but has also come to realise that they can be applied to her personal life and in particular her health. As well as producing a one-page profile for work purposes, Jo decided to create one in relation to her endometriosis  with the aim of assisting her to reflect on what’s important to her when managing the condition, and how others can support her well.

Jo developed her profile by talking with friends and family and thinking carefully about how the condition makes her feel, and what she wants the people around her to know.

Jo has used the one-page profile with doctors, so that they understand what is important to her, especially the need to see beyond the label of the condition.  She has also used it with other people in her life who support her. Often, when in pain, it can be difficult to see things clearly and with perspective, therefore preparing for this at a time when the condition is under control has been helpful. It has given Jo the time and space to think about what really matters.

The one-page profile has empowered Jo to think about getting the balance right between what is important to her and what she needs in terms of support to stay fit and healthy. She will continue to update it and plans to use it in preparation for seeing new doctors throughout the next stage of her treatment.

You can find out about other person-centred thinking tools to help you manage long term health conditions from thinkaboutyourlife.org.

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One-page profiles during long hospital stays

Several years ago Shelley Dumas was involved in a terrible car accident.  She was very seriously injured and used a one-page profile during her long hospital stay.

 Written by Shelley Dumas

Shelley Dumas YouTube Video

Shelley Dumas YouTube Video

Laura Buckner developed a one-page profile for me during my 5 month rehabilitation hospital stay after an automobile accident.  The focus of this  was supporting me in the hospital environment, including what people liked and admired about me and what was important to me at this time.  Laura asked several friends to send their thoughts about what they liked and admired about me (really lifting my spirits).  Then she spent time with me, asking what was important to me and how staff and visitors could support me during my hospital stay.

I observed doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, aides and visitors stopping to read the large (11×17) laminated purple profile posted in two places in my room.  They were hard to miss.  I began to notice a difference in these people’s perceptions of me and they began to talk to me about the information in the profile.

One doctor said, “this should be in everyone’s room.”  A registered nurse and professor at the local university nursing school asked for a copy so that she could include it in her courses. Everyone would stand, read and re-read it when they came in or left my room.

It was working!  One of the ways it helped me was by communicating to everyone how important it was to me to have all my necessary items in reach. I had learned very early that I must have my cell phone, nurse’s call button, TV remote control, and my bed tray close by. These items were my security system and kept me in positive control of my life while I was there. Because of my one-page profile, people visiting me and staff would always check that they were in place before leaving my room.

All of the professionals began to know me as someone other than their typical patients and I developed several relationships that have remained in place even three years later.  The importance of having the one-page profile posted in my hospital room was unbelievably helpful during one of the most stressful times in my life.

You can watch a Youtube video of Shelley talking about her hospital experience here.