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In the last of four blogs to mark the launch of today’s drive by NHS England urging doctors and other healthcare professionals to sign up to a national pledge to Stop the Over Medication of People with a learning disability, autism or both (STOMP), a Senior Policy Advisor for the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group reflects on promoting the STOMP pledge for social care:
Over the last year a number of organisations have begun implementing STOMP by engaging their top team and, in some instances, their board.
As a result, STOMP is seen as a priority in these organisations and accountability for delivering results is built into existing reporting mechanisms. These organisations know how well they are doing because they regularly collect data on practice and outcomes.
My question to these organisations is: will your staff teams retain a focus on STOMP when, inevitably, the attention of the top team is diverted elsewhere?
Other providers have begun by engaging the people they support, typically using a conference for people with a learning disability, autism or both as an opportunity to present the STOMP campaign. This results in slower progress, both organisationally and in terms of positive change for people. But it is an approach which wins hearts and minds and potentially could drive sustained culture-change.
My question to these organisations is: how will you ensure accountability for implementing STOMP?
A third group of providers has begun with their middle managers. This means managers can tailor their actions to circumstances and practice in their area of responsibility. These organisations ask their middle managers to produce a STOMP action plan; in theory, local plans are then combined into one organisational plan. Within these organisations there are pockets of real success, evidenced by case studies demonstrating excellent support. However, so far, no provider has successfully developed an organisation-wide implementation plan in this way.
My question to these organisations is: how will you ensure consistent implementation of STOMP?
So, where should organisations start?
Firstly, I suggest that an organisation committed to STOMP needs a lead person who sees driving implementation as a core responsibility.
In all my examples providers are making progress in tackling over-medication, but STOMP is best embedded in organisations where people in all roles understand and own the campaign. This means that organisations need to be talking about STOMP to the people they support and their families, staff, managers and their top team. Messages are meaningful when they are tailored to each audience.
To illustrate this here are some of those tailored messages:
- For people with a learning disability, autism or both and their families – why is it important to only take the medication we really need?
- For staff – how STOMP will change the way we work.
- For managers – resources and systems that are available to support implementation.
- Executive team and board – what is the change we are aiming to deliver? How will we measure performance?
There is no one right way to implement STOMP. Much depends on what makes sense in each organisation. However, we can share what has worked well and learn from each other.
The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group is committed to supporting shared learning about tackling over-medication through our website and our e-bulletin, STOMP news for social care.