Update on the ESTHER Philosophy
The ESTHER Philosophy is, among other things, an approach to continuous quality improvement where professionals work in partnership with users of care and support services, here referred to as ESTHERS, with a joint target to improve services for both ESTHER and organisations.
The philosophy was first developed in Sweden 1997 and has since been recognised world-wide for the good results it has accomplished, leading to the philosophy being adopted in several other countries. 3 of those, Singapore, where the implementation is led by Sing Health, Bornholm Hospital in Denmark and Kent and Medway in UK joins share and learn webinars with the original ESTHER team from region Jonkoping in Sweden. For those 4 countries, it is considered core to have the same foundation for the ESTHER work and only make minor amendments to fit into local legislations and systems.
This international networking gives a much wider community for learning, support and sharing. All with the aim to get better at doing “What matters to you”.
By this joint working, professionals are more likely to target the actual issue, making the actions put in place more likely to solve the actual problem rather than creating another. By joining the international network, we can learn from each other, benefitting from solutions already tested and proven to be an improvement for ESTHERS as well as professionals. This saves both time and other resources when we do not have to start from scratch but apply and sometimes adapt solutions from others in the network. We all face very similar challenges such as increasing need for care and support and the need to improve services from the perspectives of both service users and governing bodies. At the same time we need to be mindful of the limitations as regards resources.
How does ESTHER work:
By being part of the international ESTHER network, we share and learn with other ESTHER Coaches and ambassadors mainly in 3 ways. The first is, as mentioned above the webinars. So far those have been serving as a competence enhancer for the teams that manages the local implementations. Jointly evaluating and developing the ESTHER Coach training to make sure it gives a similar knowledge to those trained to enhance the ESTHER trademark. We also share some of our local improvement work. Any actions that has given improved quality for ESTHERS in Singapore, will most likely have a positive outcome for ESTHERS in other countries as well. With or without amendments to work in the specific system.
The second way is our ESTHER Facebook groups from Kent and Medway, Singapore and Sweden. Those groups are closed, but with the ESTHER leads all being administrators, we can invite or approve Ambassadors, Coaches or someone else interested, to be part of the groups. Everyone in the group can share good news stories based on ESTHER improvement work, ask for ideas, help or support for their own work on how to improve experiences for ESTHERS. An easily accessible communication channel for peer support.
The third way of shared learning between the countries is the Microsystem Festival in Jonkoping, where the philosophy was originally developed. The Festival is a warm and personal event which provides the attendees with great opportunities to meet other people who are committed to health and social care improvement. It is intended for leaders, CEOs, improvement coaches or anyone working to improve quality in health and social care. It also welcomes user of health and social care services, ESTHERS. There has been an ESTHER workshop on the festival for several years and in the latter years this has been delivered jointly by UK, Singapore and Sweden. At the end of February this year (2020) we co-delivered an ESTHER café, where attendees listened to 3 real life ESTHER stories and where then given the opportunity to have conversations on how to use ESTHER’s experiences and spread and do more of what worked well and improve what did not come out as a good experience.
Last but not least, March 31st, we celebrate our international ESTHER day. And in those times of social isolation it is more important that ever to find the ways to brighten up ESTER’s day so please share what you are doing and any pledges for the future. If you are on twitter, use #best4ESTHER. Send an email to us at the Design and Learning Centre.
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