Healthcare · Insights

Networking over lunch

For me the day before the Symposium starts is the calm before the storm. I took part in an interesting conversation over lunch, which captures some of the magic of the Symposium, so I wanted to write a brief post and tell you about it:
Today’s been a jeans day (and tomorrow will be a ‘genes’ day, but that’s another blog post!). I’ve been up and down the escalators leading to Riverside A for the poster session more times than I can count. In fact, I wish I’d worn a pedometer today, as once in the poster room, I’ve been pacing the floor a fair amount working out the most logical, least crowded and best light positions for the approximately 310 posters that are being put up by delegates as I write this.
So, it was a welcome relief to sit down for 20 minutes or so at lunchtime. I got chatting to the co-ordinators from two of the MND Association’s Care Centres. They were half way though attending the Allied Professionals Forum (APF), run by the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations and co-chaired by Steve Bell, a Director of Care for the MND Association.
My opening question was “So, what was good about this morning’s APF?”. They began by commenting that this meeting is really useful for the hands on practical differences that they take back to the clinic, for example, Susan Walsh’s presentation. She spoke about the programme at the Hershey Clinic in Philadelphia, USA for caregivers of people with MND with cognitive or behavioural symptoms. This talk has acted as a trigger for the co-ordinators to more consciously think about how they support this particular group of carers at home in the UK.
The second presentation that struck home was that from Kristina Dodds on the training programme underway in New South Wales, Australia. Her talk paralleled the experiences in the UK – being able to offer training to healthcare assistants makes a difference to people with MND. Where colleagues in the UK have had the training, people with MND have noticed it. Both the Care Centre Co-ordinators said that they’d like to do more of this kind of training. They agreed to get in touch with each other when they got back to the UK, to talk about it more, to share resources to make it happen. I put them both on the spot when I asked if I could write up this little story as a blog post. I promised not to add to the pressure by naming names – but you see, I know who they are, if you don’t… !!