The MHL team

Professor Belinda Dewar, Director of MHL Scotland and Professor of Practice Improvement

Lloyd SmithBelinda is the Director for My Home Life in Scotland. She first worked with the My Home Life programme in 2006 when she contributed to developing the evidence base as part of her role as the first Nurse Consultant for care Homes in Scotland working at the Care Inspectorate. She has had the privilege of working closely with over 100 care home managers in Scotland over the past year to support both managers and other facilitators in the My Home Life Leadership and Community development programme. She also manages a number of participatory research projects in care homes and contributes to wider debates in Scotland and Nationally about enhancing relationship centred care. Belinda was appointed as the Professor of Practice Improvement at the University of West of Scotland in 2013. She has had extensive experience as a nurse, research and educator. She has been working with nurses, allied health care professionals, patients, residents and families in a range of care settings over the last 25 years to support improving the experience of giving and receiving care. She is committed to approaches to development that work with and for people to enable them to become researchers of their own practice.   She is recognised nationally and internationally for her work on caring and methodologies for improvement which include action research and appreciative inquiry, as well as designing and delivering innovative transformational leadership programmes.

Fiona Cook, Independent Practice Development Consultant and facilitator of MHL

fiona profileFiona is an acknowledged practice development leader across Scotland and the UK. She has extensive experience in the NHS, in a career spanning over 35 years, as both clinical practitioner and nurse teacher. She is an experienced, flexible, highly motivated and enthusiastic health care professional with excellent leadership, managerial, organisational, and educational skills who holds a firm commitment to both practice and professional development. She is a skilled communicator and facilitator, comfortable working at all levels of organisations to enable, encourage, inspire and empower individuals to maximise their full potential. A qualified nurse teacher, Fiona has a unique combination of skills to offer. She has had her own consultancy business for over 5 years and is also a qualified psychotherapist. This knowledge and experience is invaluable in her work with clients as a facilitator of change, transformation and enhanced autonomy. Fiona is also an expert facilitator of both technical and transformational practice development processes. She has experience and understanding of undergraduate and post graduate academia, regularly working freelance for universities as lecturer and external examiner. She is also an accomplished facilitator of action and active learning, processes whereby individuals can learn creatively together in a reflective group in order to transform personally and professionally. She routinely uses these processes of learning to enable and empower individuals to make significant changes to their life and their professional practice. She is also a capable and competent life and work coach/ mentor in one to one coaching/supervisory relationships which have helped stretch clients beyond personal horizons to harness their potential within six sessions. She offers this service face to face or by telephone, whichever is most convenient for clients. Outside of her professional life, Fiona lives in Edinburgh. She enjoys traveling, cycling, cooking, socialising with friends and being outdoors, weather permitting.

Karen Barrie, facilitator of MHL

kbkeep_smallcloseKaren’s early career in informatics evolved into an interest in understanding and improving people’s experiences of accessing and providing care. She has been engaged in health and social care service improvement at operational and strategic levels for the past 13 years and has a keen understanding of the UK policy landscape. Karen is committed to the use of participatory and inclusive methods. She has considerable expertise in facilitating story work, having led the Joint Improvement Team’s Digital Storytelling in Health and Social Care project, then serving as national development manager for the qualitative aspects of the Scottish Government’s Patient Experience programme. Over the past 7 years she has contributed to the implementation of a personal outcomes approach in health and social care, notably by exploring ways of engaging with outcomes for people with communication or cognitive impairments, and by supporting practitioners to analyse and use qualitative outcomes data pragmatically. Karen commenced a Career Development PhD Scholarship at the University of Edinburgh in 2013, co-teaching the MSc for Integrated Service Improvement and supporting a related programme of research and knowledge exchange. Karen’s PhD research concerns personal outcomes for older people living with dementia, and she is excited about strengthening the focus on personal outcomes in care homes through her work with the My Home Life programme.

Dr Cathy Sharp, Director of Research for Real, facilitator MHL

Cathy Sharp As a leading practitioner of action research in Scotland, she aspires to change the ways that practitioners think about research and researchers think about practice. Cathy works with a wide range of people concerned with health, social care, community and workforce development, facilitating action learning and other forms of learning from experience and evidence. She has facilitated My Home Life groups in Edinburgh and East Ayrshire. Her other work includes Living Leadership, a cross-sector development programme of leaders working to implement person-centred and asset-based approaches to public services and work in north-east Glasgow to embed an appreciative inquiry approach to health improvement. Cathy is an experienced social researcher, academic and former research manager. She has a PhD in Town and Regional Planning, BA (Hons) degree in Urban Studies and a Postgraduate Diploma in Action Research in Professional Practice from the School of Management, University of Bath. See www.research-for-real.co.uk Dr Dorothy Armstrong, facilitator MHL Dorothy completed her undergraduate degree in Nursing Studies, University of Edinburgh, her Masters degree at the University of Glasgow and teaching qualification from Edinburgh Napier University. In 2010, Dorothy was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Edinburgh for services to nursing. Dorothy has over twenty five years’ experience working in the NHS in Scotland in acute nursing and education. Latterly she was a Programme Director with NHS Education for Scotland and currently is Professional Adviser to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. Dorothy is also a Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, leading the Person Centred Care in Practice module.  In order to keep apace with nursing practice, Dorothy is Honorary Nurse Consultant in NHS Lothian. Since 2013, Dorothy has been a Facilitator with My Home Life Scotland, working with cohorts in Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire. She is truly inspired by the commitment and enthusiasm shown by the care home managers and the changes brought about by their learning journey. Dorothy is married with two grown up children and enjoys fair weather walking, travelling to new places and yoga. Lisa McNay, PhD student and MHL facilitator Lisa qualified as an RMN in 1989 and since then has held various clinical, research and teaching positions in mental health. Her interest from her student days is the importance of relationships, which continues to the present day. With relationships being central to My Home Life, Lisa feels passionate about the Programme. Lisa is currently studying for a PhD at UWS.

Vivianne Crispin, Lecturer in Adult Nursing and Researcher in the Institute of Care and Practice Improvement, University of West of Scotland

Vivianne has joined UWS as a lecturer and as a researcher. She has recently completed her PhD, which explores information exchange between patients and nurses in ward settings during routine nursing care. Her main interests lie in patient involvement in healthcare, patient self-care practices, shared decision-making, and patient/nurse interactions. Currently, Vivianne teaches on Part 2 of the undergraduate nurse training programme, and works on My Home Life with Belinda Dewar. She is also involved in a COHORT study related to Leading Better Care and in developing a research project with a group from the Alliance for Self-Care Research (ASCR).

Our partners

My Home Life UK promotes quality of life for those living, dying, visiting and working in care homes.

Scottish Care represents the largest group of Health and Social Care independent sector providers across Scotland with over 400 members.

Age Scotland is an independently constituted Scottish charity, and is the leading national authority on older people, age and ageing.

Our associates

Associates are the care home managers who have completed the My Home Life Leadership Programme. Our Associates give us valuable insight into the needs and challenges of the care home sector.  Their continuing contribution is vital to the My Home Life programme.

Our Advisory Group

Professor Julienne Meyer, Executive Director MHL UK.

Julienne leads research in Care for Older People at City University London and is Executive Director of My Home Life Programme (MHL).  Professor Meyer has an international reputation for expertise in appreciative action research, which uses participative and affirming methods to research attempts to improve practice.  The value of the work is not only the lessons learnt (scientific knowledge), but also, the engagement of users and providers as co-researchers in the educational process of reflecting on and learning from practice, within the context of whole systems thinking (social change).  Over the last 3 years, as Director of My Home Life (MHL), her work has focused primarily on quality improvement in care homes.

Chris Bruce, Lead on Outcomes, Joint Improvement Team, Scottish Government.

Chris promotes a focus on personal outcomes in policy, performance and most importantly at a personal one to one level across and within the health and social care workforce. He is also Policy Lead for the HEAT 75+ bed days target, supports the JIT Action Group and is JIT Lead for the East Renfrewshire Partnership.

Barbara Sharp, Alzheimer Scotland, Current Role: Practice Development Manager, Alzheimer Scotland and Research Fellow, Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice, UWS

Barbara has spent 18 years in nursing, specialising in care of older people. Her last NHS position was a joint post with University of Glasgow as clinical nurse manager/ teacher. Since 1990, she has worked for Alzheimer Scotland in local project management, regional service management and national practice development. She currently leads work with external partners to deliver national strategic objectives for dementia in Scotland. This includes partnerships with UWS to deliver the national dementia champions programme and Scottish Government/Health Boards to support the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse specialist network. Other partners include the Joint Improvement Team, NHS Education for Scotland and the SSSC.

Glenda Watt, Strategy Manager, Edinburgh’s Joint Plan for Older People, Corporate Services, Performance, Strategy and Policy, The City of Edinburgh Council

With a number of nursing qualifications, Glenda is a registered social worker now dealing with the voice and experience of older people, strategy and policy. She has always had an interest in the public sector in a variety of settings and was the founder member of the Alzheimer’s Disease Society in Scotland, which led to the development of Alzheimer Scotland. She recently retired from City of Edinburgh Council and is now focussed on her role as Co-ordinator of the Scottish Older People’s Assembly.

Glenda has co-authored a book on caring for ageing parents; an article on inclusive day services for older people; produced an Edinburgh Festival Fringe show and an instigator of many City of Edinburgh Council Reports on A City For All Ages from 2001 to 2010.

Margaret McKeith, Lead For Reshaping Care For Older People, Scottish Care 

Margaret is a nurse with a special interest in older adults. She ran an award winning Care at Home business, has worked with Alzheimer Scotland and has undertaken an MBA.  She is a founder member and Executive Director of Scottish Care at Home.

Mary McGookin

Mary is a music teacher, a graduate of the RSAMD and Moray House. Mary was appointed to lead the development of Lothian Region’s first arts policy and new arts unit in 1992.  Working with local and national artists, organisations and festivals, she developed the interface between arts/culture and learning. She brought educators and artists together for the benefit of learners of all ages and enjoyed encouraging the development of teaching artists.

As Arts and Learning Manager for City of Edinburgh Council, Mary’s responsibilities covered the Instrumental Music Service, Cultural Coordinators and Creative Links, dance and drama officers, the Youth Music Initiative, grants to organisations, Pilton Video and the arts within informal learning.  The authority gained national recognition for its provision, including awards from the National Music Council, UK.

Mary has produced acclaimed high profile events involving young performers and has been a member of many advisory panels. For SAC (now Creative Scotland), these include the Cultural Coordinators’ Reference Group and chairing the review of youth theatre in Scotland (2006).  She is a past director of Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and former Chair of the Board of Promote YT.  She now concentrates on personal projects and freelance consultancy.