Outcome diaries prove a big hit with service users

What do visiting a cinema, a trip to Cadbury’s World, a weekly shop, making a curry or watching Manchester City play have in common? They have all been the subject of service user’s personal stories with pictures that are helping to transform and record their lives.

St Ann’s House Support Worker Gary Taylor who produces the ‘outcomes’ or diary stories explained:

“I came up with the idea of writing these narratives of key moments in our service user lives when I worked for a local council so when I moved to AFG at St Ann’s House I suggested doing a similar thing.”

Now, Gary has produced nearly 100 of these outcome records for residents of St Ann’s, a transition service for young people developed to assist as a pathway to independent living.

Residents move into the flats to develop autonomy, independent living skills, and confidence – vital considering the personal circumstance each of them have faced growing up. They then move on to a service that can meet the needs and requirements they each have.

“The outcomes are really good for service users, they show what they’ve done in the past and demonstrate outcomes for the CQC and for families too. Most importantly, service users enjoy the process. Because I also take photos, they become a personal photo album too.”

The outcomes can also be taken by the service users to any future services or agencies. They can look at the outcomes they’ve achieved and future staff also find them helpful to refer to.

Gary takes a cautious approach to putting the outcomes together: “Some service users are understandably not very confident in front of the camera to begin with. So, I build up their confidence by taking a photo of something that they were making or baking for example. Once their confidence has grown, they generally agree to photos as well.”

Other outcomes subjects have included service users attending a Christmas party, date nights, receiving an award and going to the airport.

“One of my service users had never banked before so we took a photo and made a descriptive record of the first time he went to a bank. We’ve since looked back together using the record and celebrated that he’s now banking regularly by himself.

“They are really motivating for our service users because they can then look back at things they have done which they once believed were unachievable. I really enjoy doing them too!”

Gary works closely with the service users to agree the content for the outcome record – photos and words – before they are published.

AFG Team leader Richard Copestick said: “Gary’s recordings of outcomes are a great tool to develop the confidence and demonstrate the skills and abilities these young people have gained whilst living in St Ann’s. So much so that the approach has been rolled out amongst the staff team in service. It is the perfect reflective catalogue that the people we support can take with them once they transition out of the service into their forever homes and beyond – remembering the support they received whilst living in St Ann’s.”

Nathan Caine is pictured (middle) celebrating with support worker Sarah and Nathan’s friend Nick, as featured in Nathan’s Christmas party diary record.