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Review: For The Best at Arts Centre Washington

Focussing our care

For The Best
Arts Centre Washington
12th February 2015.

The artistic director of Operating Theatre, Alex Elliott, poses the moral question – What can we do to improve access to healthcare for those with learning disabilities?

Louise Dearden
Louise Dearden performs in an emotional monologue about a care worker whose patient of the last four years has passed away. Whilst her friends and family wonder why she is taking it so hard, she has many questions to ask. Why, on average, do women with learning problems die 20 years younger? Why do they often die of conditions that, according to a recent survey, might have been avoided with a better level of care in 37 % of cases?

The care worker had built up enough of a rapport with Brenda to enable to help her and notice a deterioration in her health. However, she is not permitted to accompany her to the doctors for her health check, which in turn, doesn’t get to the bottom of the problems. Two weeks later Brenda is dead, leaving the care worker mulling over whether or not she could have done more.

The result leaves the audience with many ethical questions about our priorities as a society and our approach to make it an inclusive one, or the lack of such approaches. The evening had two forums to reflect. Firstly the audience questioned Louise in character as the care worker, and then a panel discussion of those involved further explored the issues.

Alex was an excellent chair for the discussions and he was able to use his engaging style to get the best out of both the panel and the audience. Louise gave a convincing, passionate performance and was able to discuss the care workers thoughts with the audience empathetically.

This was both an intriguing and captivating production that asks what do we want from our National Health Service? How do we ensure the service is inclusive and accessible? How do we support the workers on the front line?

A provocative production.

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This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

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