The Butterfly Scheme’s logo and its specific Butterfly image are now well-known. It was focus groups of people living with dementia who chose, over a decade ago now, to have a butterfly as their identifier within the scheme. The blue colouring was chosen because both men and women were happy to be linked with blue; some of the ladies preferred orange or pink, but the gentlemen made their views on that quite clear!

Butterfly_logo_webImportant though it was that people who would be using the scheme chose their own image, the image itself is far from being the most important part of the scheme; when that image is seen by trained healthcare staff, they immediately bring into use the scheme’s very specific dementia care approach. It’s that dementia care which is the heart of the scheme; the Butterfly image simply represents each person’s request for that specific care.

I am often approached by people who aren’t connected with the scheme, wanting me to “send them some stickers” or let them have a printable image of the copyrighted Butterfly image. To them, the scheme’s success comes because of the Butterfly image – but they’ve completely missed the point; that image is always linked with very specific care, and it’s that care which has brought the scheme’s reputation.

Butterfly_iconOften, people will explain to me that their dementia care is very good and therefore they don’t see why they can’t have the Butterfly image – as if the Butterfly was some sort of kitemark. I often try to explain by saying that a hamburger can be tasty, but it can’t be called a Big Mac if it isn’t one! Any care system using the scheme’s Butterfly image has to have the scheme’s specific education at its core, ongoing in-house leadership, ongoing support to embed and maintain that and ongoing liaison with the scheme and the Butterfly Scheme’s UK-wide network to promote continuous improvement.

So yes – admire the Butterfly, by all means; that’s a key reason why people living with dementia chose it in the first place. Just remember that it’s the healthcare teams’ care approach that actually delivers the benefits.