Many people may wonder if Frog is actually needed as a social media platform due to the simplicity of the idea, you would think long ago someone would have decided to create something that could easily group and link council areas and the services they provide and put them in one place. However, from current experiences, previous years working in the healthcare industry as well as previous issues very close to home of experience and in one word, this simple idea is brilliant.
I’ll start of with a bit of background about myself.
Before moving to Scotland, I lived in Northern Ireland and became very much acquainted with healthcare from an early age due to a low immune system and chronic conditions that required monthly hospital appointments and surgery to correct. My dad worked in a youth club and after spending a lot of my childhood at the evening club, I began volunteering there for 4 years. I worked my way up to running small groups in my spare time. These consisted of cooking, youth projects, art groups etc. there was a lot of funding for these, however, there was no easy way to advertise when and where these groups would take place and no one would turn up if they were not already members of the youth club. Even with a social media page, it was very difficult to actually get the word out there of the services we provide and opportunities we offered.
Before we get into recent experiences, I would like to share just another few personal experience surrounding no real advertisement and thus access of my local services and why I believe Frog is needed. My brother was diagnosed with autism in 2012 and over the next few years in was extremely difficult for my mum to find services for him and the rest of the family to enjoy. There was no easy place to find this information and such as autism friendly businesses and activities run by local charities like The Autism Society etc, my mum was very disheartened searching through numerous sources and basically gave up when a quick google search didn’t bring up what she wanted for my brother.
In the summers and spare holidays throughout the end of my school years between 2013 and 2017 I worked in a special school for people with learning disabilities. The “summer scheme” were two weeks in the year where the pupils were allowed to come in in their own clothes and participate in activities organised by staff. There was a lot of funding allocated to these two weeks and with around 70 pupils with various disabilities and complex health issues, finding places to able to take these kids were days out was extremely stressful.
It meant relying on word of mouth and a lot of previous places used before, meaning a lot of children were for a want of a better word, bored. This meant there really wasn’t a lot of opportunities to do something new with the pupils and it was a constant struggle when a place was found but there was a lack of basic information or a half finished website. This caused risk assessments to not be able to filled in and that place was couldn’t be used.
I left school in 2016 with an offer to study nursing in Glasgow. A nursing degree requires a 50/50 split of nursing placements and studying. There are too many single experiences for me to recount where situations could have been easily avoided if people knew about certain local services in their area.
I have had placements in many different areas of Scotland these include North Lanarkshire, Stirling, Falkirk, Argyll & Bute and various settings in and around Glasgow. From speaking to my fellow course mates in different hospitals as well as alongside my studies working part time as a healthcare assistant for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde as a nursing assistant. It’s not necessarily a national “problem” to not have these services readily available on one platform, obviously the NHS has functioned for a lot of years without this feature, but as you no doubt have heard it is severely under pressure and I believe a platform such as Frog is part of the solution. As nurses are being taught of a more holistic approach to patient care, people should be looking for their own solutions and taking control of the services taking their health into their own hands.
I’ll just give one example of a student nursing experience to reiterate my point. I was on placement in a hospital located in the area of argyll & Bute, specially working alongside a psychiatrist who held a Dementia clinic on Thursday mornings. There was a specific case where a patient and their family members came in. The dementia had very much impacted their daily life and whilst it was being controlled as best it could with medication, the psychiatrist suggests joining clubs in their local area to keep their mind stimulated and to join clubs they could enjoy such as a walking group. The psychiatrist was then asked does e know of such places due to the highlands being a vast amount of area and the family did not know where to start. Both myself and the doctor had no answer. It would have taken that psychiatrist or the family of the patient 30 seconds to look up a few groups in their area and have all this information readily available at their fingertips but there just wasn’t any platform in place to do this.
As you have already gathered, I am very passionate about giving people the knowledge to take care of their own health and I believe every single person can relate to my experiences in some shape or form. Local community services are treasured by the NHS and can really make a difference in people’s’ lives and thus there is now an even easier way to access these services so why not use it?