Chris Pointon is co-founder of the #hellomynameis… campaign. He started the plenary session with a motto: “Through adversity comes legacy”. Speaking about his late wife, Kate, he continued to challenge the audience to ask themselves three questions:
- What is important to you in terms of your life plans? This may be where you see yourself in the next 5, 10 years.
- What date is important in your life? (marriage, birth of a child, the day you became an Occupational Therapist)
- What legacy do you want to leave in the world?
Chris described how he met Kate when she was studying medicine and how they knew they were going to spend the rest of their lives together, they were soul mates.
“July 23rd 2005 is the most important day of my life. This was the date that we got married. Our life plans were:
- To have a family
- Our careers”
However at just 29 years of age Kate was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Their saying was “Play the cards in life that we’ve been dealt”. Chris was not from a healthcare background, but from being with Kate, her job as an older person’s Physician and her illness thrust him into the healthcare world. They felt that they just had to deal with and play their cards the best and most positively as they could.
Christ spoke at length about the stages of Kate’s illness and the healthcare professionals and treatment they received along the way, as well as Kate’s extensive bucket list and achievements. Kate wanted to be seen as a person who had made a difference, not the person who died young of cancer. Chris played a video of Kate speaking about her core values:
- Communication – bad communication can do so much harm. Kate spoke about two very different experiences she had of healthcare workers giving her diagnoses, the first was a junior doctor who she had not met before. “He said “Hello my name is…” then looked away and didn’t ask if I wanted anyone with me. And then said “your cancer has spread” then just left. I never saw him again. I’m psychologically scarred by this”. We break news to people every day and we really need to think about how we do this. Her Oncologist on the other hand, when he have her the final diagnosis, held her hand, sat on edge of bed, sat with her in silence as it sank in. Although this was more devastating news, it wasn’t as traumatic.
- The little things – makes the difference between a good experience and a bad experience. “Holding my hand, sitting next to me, introduce themself. Listening to my fears and anxieties. He recognised how scared and anxious I was. The Registrar, refused to sit down the next day, instead stood looming over and making me feel small and less in control.”
- Person centred care – this is banded around NHS care and management but what does it really mean?
As Kate’s journey continued she met many healthcare professionals who often failed to introduce themselves, even when taking her blood and carrying out observations. Kate and Chris then met Brian who was a porter, he introduced himself and chatted about cricket to try and calm Kate before going down to theatre. After some reflecting that evening on the 30th Aug 2013 #hellomynameis… was born.
It is a common courtesy to introduce yourself by name, for it to be delivered with a smile and to be warm, welcoming and genuine.
The #hellomynameis campaign took off all over the world. This is where Kate started to talk about her own legacy. “If I was to die today then I know I have made a difference and left a legacy”. Introducing yourself by name takes little time to do, it costs little money and it makes a huge difference to patient care.
On the 23rd July 2016 it was Kate and Chris’ 11th wedding anniversary – Kate passed away on this afternoon. Chris spoke about how she was in control to the end, of her destiny and passed away almost to the minute that they said their vows. Pain free and at peace.
Chris is currently on a global tour with the campaign and carrying on Kate’s legacy.
To find out more about the #Hellomynameis… campaign visit:
Twitter: @pointonchris, @grangerkate
Blog post written by Catherine Gray @CupOTServices