My Home Life (MHL) Germany Officially Launched

dewar 2017

My Home Life (MHL) Germany was officially launched at an event at Hamilton Campus on 25 May 2017. The My Home Life project, which is a UK-wide initiative and was launched in 2006 by the National Care Homes Research and Development Forum (NCHRDF), aims to promote quality of life for those living, dying, visiting and working in care homes through relationship-centred and evidence-based practice.

Starting in England, the MHL vision of best practice resonated and quickly spread across the UK and most recently further afield into Australia and now Germany.

The associated MHL Leadership programme sets out to support managers to develop as appreciative inquirers to create and sustain evidence-informed, relationship-centred and appreciative cultures in their care settings. UWS, in partnership with Scottish Care and Age Scotland, has been leading the MHL initiative and developing and delivering the Leadership programme in Scotland since 2013.

The creation of My Home Life Germany is as a result of a partnership between UWS, City University and the Josef und Luise-Kraft Foundation in Germany. The Foundation promotes human rights for older people in Germany and sees the MHL Leadership programme as a vehicle to address human rights in German care homes.

In April, MHL Scotland Director, Professor Belinda Dewar of UWS and MHL England Director, Professor Julienne Meyer CBE, visited the Foundation in Munich to share the learning to date from the programme, which has led to the launch of MHL in Germany.

Commenting on the launch Professor Belinda Dewar, Professor of Practice Improvement at UWS, said:

“We are delighted to have launched My Home Life in Germany. This is a hugely important development as we work to spread and continually develop care home best practice not just in the UK but globally. Many people are interested in how to promote innovation and change in health and social care. The increasing complex landscape of care requires a different approach. Our appreciative approach aims to discover what gives life to a system, what energises people and what they most care about in order to produce both shared knowledge and knowledge for action. This is in stark contrast to other approaches to research and development that has the starting point of what is the problem and how do we fix it.”

Josef und Luise-Kraft Foundation Project Manager, Caroline Emmer De Albuquerque Green, said:

“We are thrilled to be able to bring the experience from My Home Life to Germany and draw on the learning and best practices from more than 10 years of work. In Germany, care homes are facing the same challenges as in Britain and many other countries around the world. Our mission and vision is to contribute to an enhanced quality of life for older people while recognising the positive role care homes, staff working in them and relatives can play. We are convinced that Home Life Germany and the values underlying it, will be able to help promote this.”

Julienne Meyer of City, University of London, said:

“We believe that relationships are key to the delivery of person-centred care.  This means that we must not only consider the needs of older people in care homes, but also the needs of relatives who visit and the needs of staff who work there. To enhance connections, we focus on having caring conversations; because we believe that relationships depend on the way we talk to one another. People are going into care homes older, sicker and frailer, and the workforce needs to be supported and upskilled. These issues are prevalent around the world. The way in which society often doesn’t value older people and their experiences has a knock-on effect for those who work in the sector. That’s what’s great about collaborating internationally; we can draw on each other’s learning and explore best practice together.”

MHL Germany was officially launched at an NCHRDF seminar at UWS on 25 May 2017. The Forum was established in 2003 to provide a platform for researchers and practitioners to network, share information and ideas arising from their work.