As councils are looking at ways to improve care coordination and the experiences of their elderly, Kent council has been looking into the “Esther Philosophy” of care as a means to improve the care they offer. This Swedish-originated philosophy of care aims at moving away from “what is the matter with” to “what matters” to people. This approach allows individuals who use care and support services to become an equal partner in planning their care and, henceforth, better meet their personal needs.

The name is based on a real person, whose experiences of the 90s Swedish social care system formed the foundations of this way of thinking. Anyone who has contact with health and social care services is a Esther.

The philosophy is based on continuous quality improvement on different levels, starting with the person – Esther. The philosophy’s holistic approach is proven to make people more compliant to prescriptions as well as other suggested interventions. It supports them in becoming better informed and allows them to being part of the planning and decision making process. Following its implementation in Sweden, the country has seen a 30% drop in hospital admissions, a reduction in readmissions, a decrease in length of stays, as well as making Esther feel increasingly safer.

The model was adopted in Kent back in 2016 as a means to deliver high-quality care and support across the county, while promoting a positive culture that is person-centred, open, inclusive and empowering. The model in Kent has adopted two training opportunities – the Coach, which was first developed in Sweden as part of the original model, and the Ambassador, which is a unique opportunity to Kent. Kent already has approximately 1300 ambassadors, 78 coaches and three trainers and are regularly holding cafes across the county.

Since its implementation, the philosophy has already gained recognition by national bodies such as Health Education England, the Department of Health and Social Care and recently the Chief Social Worker for Adults Annual Report 2017-18.

For more information on the philosophy and to find out how to get involved, including information about past and upcoming events see the website for more details.