NHS Leadership Academy Digital Team

Dolores

Dolores is a retired bus driver in her early 70s. She is of Jamaican heritage but has lived in the UK most of her life as part of the Windrush generation. She is married to Delroy and has six children. Her dominant outward qualities are that she is a matriarch and she ‘fills the room’ with great exhuberance and humour. She loves church and Queen and has her own ‘speaky, spoky’ voice that she uses on the phone or when dealing with ‘authority’. She is a strong and busy figure in the local Eastvern community and has fashioned herself as a commentator – an ‘Insta poet’. Her inward qualities are resilience and loyalty to her family, but she has a disregard for her failing health and hides things from NHS staff – preferring to look after others than receive care herself.

Point of conflict

Dolores has Type 2 Diabetes. She is negligent about avoiding sugar which increases her risk of stroke and careless when cutting her toenails (doesn’t believe she needs a specialist from the clinic). A wound becomes dangerously infected and ulcerated. She is wary of pharmaceutical care and prefers the herbal remedies suggested by church elders. She also burns herself whilst cooking and ignores both this and her deteriorating eyesight.

Story arc in Edward Jenner programme

The storyline revolves around the community nurse, visits to her local GP and to the diabetes clinic which is in Westvern and two buses away. The issues are the lack of ‘joined up care’, community transport and access to healthcare, and the conflict between medical practice and Dolores’ belief in her own culture i.e the ‘Don’t fuss. I is alright’ mentality and the threat to Dolores’ own mobility and her standing in the community. Over the story arc she both rubs up against the health care system and finally becomes an advocate for it as health care professionals work out how to help her to help herself.