Responding to picture stories

We have added the option of including pictures in stories. The aim is to support even more people to share their experiences of health and social care. This might include people affected by dementia, people with learning difficulties, children and younger people or anyone at all who might find pictures helpful.

Everyone will be able to use pictures in their story if they choose.

Reading picture stories

A story with pictures will have a header which looks like this:


People will place pictures on the scale to indicate whether they feel happy, not happy or somewhere in between.

People have 43 pictures to choose from covering different aspects of their care and the environment in which their care is provided. They may choose as many pictures as they like. Each picture shows an image and a descriptive phrase, like this:

People may also use text to give further information about their experience. They may mix pictures and text, or just use pictures.

Being alerted to picture stories

Patient Opinion moderates picture stories in the same way as other stories.

On story publication, email alerts are sent in the same way as for other stories.

Responding to picture stories

The principles of responding to picture stories are the same as responding to any story.

We encourage all responders to use “plain English” in responses. This is particularly important when responding to picture stories.

Some people who share picture stories may be affected by dementia, have learning difficulties, or be children or young people. It is important that everyone reading your response understands it.

Here is a helpful summary from the “plain English” website:

  • Stop and think before you start writing. Make a note of the points you want to make in a logical order.
  • Prefer short words. Long words will not impress your customers or help your writing style.
  • Use everyday English whenever possible. Avoid jargon and legalistic words, and always explain any technical terms you have to use.
  • Keep your sentence length down to an average of 15 to 20 words. Try to stick to one main idea in a sentence.
  • Use active verbs as much as possible. Say ‘we will do it’ rather than ‘it will be done by us’.
  • Be concise.
  • Imagine you are talking to your reader. Write sincerely, personally, in a style that is suitable and with the right tone of voice.
  • And always check that your writing is clear, helpful, human and polite.

You are also able to use pictures in your response if you want to. 

Help and support

As always the Patient Opinion team is on hand to provide help and support. Call or email us during working hours.

Talking Mats, their products and training

Care Opinion picture stories were developed in partnership with Talking Mats, and are based on their expertise in communication.

If you want to learn more about the Talking Mats approach, which helps people with communication difficulties to think about an issue and express a view, please visit talkingmats.com