‘Pocket Ideas…for a moment in time’ a person centred approach in Acute Care

Pocket Ideas, what is it?

So if a person with dementia or carer wanted to know what to expect when being introduced to “pocket ideas” what would I say?

‘Pocket Ideas’ is a portable pocket sized book filled with prepared activities and inspirational quotes to help stimulate conversation. These conversations can take place whilst working with a patient in the ward, as the book is very portable, or in a group situation.

It’s an opportunity for us all to remember to see the person who has had many life experiences, skills and knowledge. It helps to build therapeutic relationships, reduce distress, reinforce the benefits of meaningful activity and person centred care. It’s a tool that anyone can use and anywhere, reminding us that every moment we have to offer older people in meaningful experiences is valuable, and essential in our professional practice. Enjoy the experience using it and the opportunity to reminisce, remember and even talk about new topics.

I would also tell them that this initiative won an award last year, in the category of “Best Acute Initiative” of Scotlands Dementia Awards 2014.

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5 Top Tips using ‘Pocket Ideas’

  1. Only takes 5 minutes to have a moment in time with an individual, and it reinforces the importance of meaningful activity.
  2. Simple prepared activities and inspirational pictures to stimulate a conversation.
  3. Encourages positive therapeutic relationships and reinforces the importance of humanity, compassion, person centred care and being actively engaged.
  4. Portable pocket sized tool and can be used anywhere by anyone.
  5. Enjoy using it, as a moment in time can bring back a memory, reduce stress, provide comfort and make you smile.

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5 things you need to know when designing a resource like this

  1. Understand what the problem is and creative ways to address it.
  2. Importance of engaging relevant staff members to support project ideas.
  3. Establish a working group to talk about ideas, set achievable goals and support each other to realise a possibility and make a difference.
  4. Create a prototype using creative ideas.
  5. Develop a means to measure the benefits of using the prototype and then pilot the project idea in the relevant area.

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My top recommendation to make something happen, surround yourself with a great team.

Our team picture includes; left to right Jean Knox, (Technical instructor), Gillian Agnew (Occupational therapists), me in the middle, Elaine Tizzard (Technical instructor) and Darrell Line (Technical instructor).

I would welcome any reflections on my blog post

I would also like to leave you with a question to consider and reflect on

How can we ensure, if you are living with dementia and require to go into an acute care setting that every contact with a health care professional is person centred and we ask you “what is important to you”

Andrea Boyd

Occupational Therapist, NHS Ayrshire and Arran


I am currently on secondment and leading up the project ‘Pocket Ideas…for a moment in time’. I have been an Occupational Therapist for many years, but this is such an exciting opportunity to continue with the development of our person centred tool with the support of my ‘Activity Team’.


13 thoughts on “‘Pocket Ideas…for a moment in time’ a person centred approach in Acute Care

  1. Hi Andrea
    I am a fourth year Occupational Therapy student and having just read your post I think “pocket ideas” is a truly wonderful idea and resource! Throughout my time at university I have continually learned about the importance of person centred care and believe this is a fundamental element of an AHP role when working with others.
    My last placement was spent working in an acute Care of the Elderly Rehabilitation setting. Despite trying my best to provide person centred care to all the patients I worked alongside, I feel that I would have benefitted from the Pocket Ideas to further enhance this. The fact that the resource is portable and pocket sized makes it unique to other resources that I have come across and something I would love to use in future practice.

    • Hi Lyndsay

      Thank you for your very kind comment. Once the prototype has been finalised, it is hoped that after being published, that it will be more widely available. I’m really glad that you see person centred care as being at the heart of your practice, I absolutely agree. I wish you well with the remainder of your training.

      Take care
      Andrea 🙂

  2. This is an absolutely brilliant idea. Will the pocket book of ideas be available for sharing with others. We are just about to pilot the Making every moment count resource in a couple of our wards and this would absolutely brilliant to share with our nursing staff colleagues.

    • Hi Lynn

      Thank you for your very kind comment. As yet we are still at the prototype stage and working towards professional printing. Our pocket tool links really well with ‘make every moment count’ as does our website http://www.nhsaaa.net/activelyengaged It is hoped that our pocket tool will be more widely available in the future. It would be wonderful to see it being used in other health boards!

      Take care
      Andrea 🙂

  3. Andrea I agree with Lynn, its a fantastic idea ..thanks for sharing ! I was wondering if one or two activity examples in pocket ideas could be shared via this Blog ? Looking forward to checking out an actual copy of pocket ideas very soon !!!

    • Hi Pasna

      Thank you for your very kind comment. As I mentioned to Lynn we are still at the prototype stage, but I’m really excited that there is so much interest in the project, and that staff members and students can see the benefits of using ‘Pocket Ideas’. Hopefully you will hear about our pocket tool being published soon.

      Take care
      Andrea 🙂

  4. Fantastic Andrea and Team! It’s amazing what we can learn about people if we take the time and I can really see how this would provide the confidence to do so. Look forward to hearing more!

    • Hi Alison

      Great to hear from you and I really appreciate your thoughts and kind words! Our team have worked really hard and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. I hope everything is going well for you too!

      Take care

  5. Fantastic blog!! I know people we work with are now being encouraged to complete the Getting To Know Me document at the dementia cafés – this allows the person to complete this with assistance of family support to ensure it is truly personalised and can be used as a travelling document within Acute setting. Feedback from a dementia champion was that these are regularly completed at crisis point families stressed etc info missing. The Pocket Ideas sounds perfect-enabling conversation and encourages meaningful activity to be carried out. I would welcome further discussion at our dementia cafés about the progress!!! Thank you

    • Hi Lorna

      Thank you for your very kind comments. it would be wonderful to be involved in discussions at dementia cafes to talk about the project and how it could be used. Pocket Ideas is so easy to use and fits well other tools like ‘Getting to know me’ and ‘make every moment count’. Our Activity Team really wanted to develop a tool that would be easy to use and help start those meaningful conversations. It’s fabulous that so many people are talking about the project and that there is an increased awareness about ‘Pocket Ideas’.

      Take care
      Andrea 🙂

    • Hi Brooke

      Thanks for your very kind comment!! I would be delighted if you had the opportunity to see the finished product and be able to use it too!! It’s been an exciting journey with my very enthusiastic Activity Team!

      Take care
      Andrea 🙂

  6. Hi Andrea
    I am really looking forward to seeing the pocket ideas pack. I am also an OT and like you always thinking about creative ways to engage people in meaningful activity and conversation and to empower peoples self esteem, confidence and self worth. Well done for taking your idea to the next level!
    Best wishes, Louise

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