Hertfordshire’s Health and Community Services (HCS) at Herts County Council originally funded the Health Champions project which involved The Pioneer Spirits in partnership with the Health Liaison Team working initially with a group of people who attend St Albans HCS LD Day Service. The aim was to develop a way in which to really engage people with learning disabilities of all abilities and associated professionals to understand the importance of the Purple Folder and how it relates to their health in general
The Health Champions went on the road, teaching people of all abilities about the Signs that Save Lives and The Purple Folder. This has been presented by graphics, song and through an innovative and funny play that had members of the audience playing key roles at each venue.
The Road Show had a serious message behind it – it’s all about saving lives and improving communication between health professionals, people with learning disabilities and the people who support them, but that didn’t stop everyone having a great deal of fun in the process
The play and song were created and developed with a group of people with learning disabilities
The idea behind the play is that any new group can make up their own unique play, creating the names for their characters, the comedy accident, the funny communication problem and so on, because the narration is all prepared for them – all each new group has to do is to fill in the gaps. Because of this, it is suitable for people of ALL abilities, including those with profound and multiple disabilities
A training folder package has been developed which will enable other groups to put on their own version of the play. It has been put together in a way that provides facilitators with all the advice they need, and doesn’t require them to have a background in drama
The performance itself is a great way to motivate and interest people, and the training package takes it several steps further, as groups can spend weeks really enjoying the drama process and exploring the key themes of the purple folder informally and in a relaxed environment with people they know and trust
Frank Garvey, Strategic Liaison Nurse for the Health Liaison team said:
“It has been an amazing ride; a wonderful experience that has added so much to the agenda of equitable healthcare for people with a learning disability. I feel very strongly that this work has been an important milestone in utilising creative media in the health promotional field”.
We worked with the original Health Champions from St Albans LD Day Service to create a song called ‘Where’s me Purple Folder?’ to encourage people to remember to take their folder with them (an issue that has come up quite regularly)
We asked them where they kept their folders, and also wrote verses about true health experiences. We put together a funny PowerPoint presentation to encourage the audience to join in
The performance went down a storm and was repeated by the group at their Day Service review a few weeks later, as well as at Lister Hospital’s Nurses Day