Our new residential care home – update

The excitement is building as our new residential care home and rehabilitation centre gets closer to completion. The Coach House is a listed building in the grounds of one of our existing care homes, and it hadn’t been used for many years. It is being renovated and extended and will soon become a new residential care home and rehabilitation centre for 11 adults with acquired brain injuries.

The scaffolding is down and a large team of trades people are busily working away inside. Doors are being hung, skirting boards and architraves fitted; The underfloor heating is in and floors are being tiled, and wet-rooms fitted out.

The terrace has been laid outside the bedrooms and the fine weather has meant that we’ve made good progress on the groundworks, so we’ll soon be in a position to show round visitors – we’ll keep you posted!

The Coach House - exterior

The Coach House – exterior

The Coach House - terraces

The Coach House – terraces

Sad news and tribute to Brian Richardson

Brian Richardson

Brian Richardson

This month we pay tribute to my dad, Brian Richardson, who has died after a short illness: He was diagnosed with Lymphoma in his brain in April this year. Brian was the driving force behind The Richardson Partnership for Care, which he founded with my mum, Jackie, in 1989.

Brian was an amazing man who touched the lives and hearts of so many people. He was born on Christmas Eve 1949 and grew up in humble surroundings in Northampton with his parents and two brothers. His entrepreneurial spirit was evident from a young age when he would devise enterprising schemes, which included repairing motorbikes on the lawn in front of the family home.

After leaving school Brian attended the newly opened Nene College in Northampton and qualified as a teacher, however he didn’t quite fit into the teaching world. Instead he came home with a teenage student who desperately needed short-term foster care and that was the beginning of his career as a carer.

Brian and Jackie started The Richardson Partnership for Care in their own home, caring for people with learning disabilities. In fact, two of the people that they looked after then are still residents in our care homes now, almost thirty years later. They built up the business with love, sheer hard work, determination and dedication; qualities that Brian also displayed in his personal and social life.

Brian and Jackie grew the business by buying up properties in Northampton to enable them to care for more people. They also recognised there was a need for specialist residential care and rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injuries, so extended the services to care for them too. I grew up in the business and have worked full time for The Richardson Partnership for Care since leaving school. Around 15-20 years ago, I was appointed a Director, and Brian and Jackie gradually stepped down from the day to day running of the business, handing over to me and my husband Greg.

The Richardson Partnership for Care is very much Brian’s legacy. He and Jackie established it to feel more like a family than a business. Brian was more than a boss to his employees – he was a true friend and a gentleman. He was known for his generosity, often helping people out when they didn’t expect it and investing in their personal development. He gave them the skills and the freedom to move on, but many of the staff chose to stay. This is still the case today.

Part of Brian’s legacy is also the ethos of The Richardson Partnership for Care and its commitment to providing a warm, friendly and positive environment for people with learning disabilities and acquired brain injuries. They are treated with dignity and respect and we aim to support them to realise their potential and live a fulfilling life.
Brian was a man who lived life to the full. He had many friends and a wide range of interests. As a youngster he would go to the Salon ballroom with his parents where he achieved gold medals for Ballroom and Latin American Dancing, and in later years he would love to Rock and Roll and Salsa with Jackie and Laura. He also loved the outdoors: he enjoyed walking and fishing, but his great passion was stalking and shooting. He was also a confident and extremely competent diver, as well as fast and enthusiastic skier. He was a risk-taker and had a reputation for a having a dare-devil attitude, which is perhaps why he was so much fun.

Brian was a warm and generous host and loved cooking for friends and family. He has been described as kind, caring, friendly, funny, a life-long friend, supportive, great company, interesting, intelligent, daring, obstinate and even, eccentric. We will miss him dearly, but we endeavour to maintain the ethos and vision for The Richardson Partnership for Care that Brian and Jackie established.

Summer holidays and activities

The excitement has been building as the holiday season is now well underway and we’ve had weeks of glorious sunshine. Holidays are planned months in advance and our service users, who have acquired brain injuries, or learning disabilities and complex needs, are supported in choosing where they would like to go.

Wherever possible, we try to accommodate specific requests for holiday destinations and they are financed by accruing a certain amount each month then topped up if someone needs something extra. Service users go away in small groups or individually, depending on their needs and preferences. They are supported by their care workers and they are involved in the decisions on who accompanies them.

Our service users enjoy the activities, atmosphere and the change in environment that a holiday brings. Some people need familiarity and routine so we balance this with the opportunity for enjoying new experiences. This year, some of our service users have been on a boat or seen the sea for the first time. Going on holiday is paramount to their health and well-being and is instrumental in their social inclusion and positive feelings of self-worth. There are also physical benefits of being outside and taking part in new activities.

This year popular holiday destinations include the Isle of Wight, Hemsby in Norfolk and Skegness in Lincolnshire – which is also close enough for a day trip. Billing Aquadrome is a local holiday park with good facilities, which is popular as it combines a change of scene and a relaxed holiday environment with a very convenient location. In addition, one service user has enjoyed a weekend trip to Blackpool, and others have visited their respective families in Malta and Serbia. We’ve also enjoyed day trips to London, the coast, zoos and country parks. Summer activities have also included trampolining and swimming, and one of our service users went to a David Byrne concert in London. We support our service users to lead a fulfilling and active life as possible.

A boat moored off the Norfolk Coast

Our new residential care home is taking shape

The Coach House will soon become a new residential care home and rehabilitation centre for 11 adults with acquired brain injuries. It is a two-storey building situated in the grounds of The Mews (one of our existing residential care homes) in Northampton, and after extensive renovation work it is now taking shape.

As it’s a listed building, we’ve been working alongside planners and conservation officers to ensure that we retain the integrity and character of the original building, while making it a modern, comfortable place to live. We are extending and renovating it to bring a run-down building back into use, which will provide much-needed accommodation and rehabilitation facilities for people with acquired brain injuries and complex needs.

Maintenance Manager, Dexter Griffin, is managing the project and the team of builders, contractors and specialist trades to ensure that everything runs smoothly and it up to the required specifications and standards.

We are including as many environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient features as possible within the care home. These include rainwater harvesting, and installing the system was a big project. Much of the work happened below ground as we had to dig a hole 5m deep and install a tank capable of holding 42,000 litres of water. The tank then had to be filled and settled before the rest of the hole was filled in. This was one occasion when we were grateful for some torrential rain! The system will collect water from the whole of The Mews’ roof as well as the Coach House, which will be used to flush toilets in both buildings as well as supplying the laundry rooms. In addition to being environmentally-friendly, we will achieve a return on our investment from reduced water and sewerage costs over time.

The roof and external structures are almost complete and we’re looking forward to the scaffolding coming down so we can have a better impression of what the finished care home will look like.

Dexter and the team are now working on the interior framework and services. The care home will have light, spacious bedrooms and communal areas with wide corridors to give a practical, relaxed and comfortable environment. We’ll keep you updated as the building progresses.

The extension of the new care home

Three new bedrooms in the extension, which will have their own individual terraces

Corridor in the Coach House

Corridors will be wide and light

Stonework

The stonework on the new part of the building will age to match the original

Importance of location when placing someone in residential care

The front of 2 Kingsthorpe Grove

Location is often one of the first considerations when placing someone in residential care – so that they can be close to friends and family – but it’s not necessarily the most important. It’s usually a combination of factors that contribute to the quality of the care provided that takes precedent over the location. This is especially true of specialist residential care and rehabilitation for adults with acquired brain injuries, learning disabilities, complex needs and behaviour that challenges – there simply aren’t the facilities available across the country to meet local needs.

The Richardson Partnership for Care is located in Northampton – we’re in the centre of the country and have good road and rail links, so easily accessible for families to visit. We welcome visits to our care homes but these are not always practical, especially if family members work full-time, have children to look after or are elderly. Or they may have a long way to travel – our service users come from all over the UK as well Ireland and Eastern Europe.

Supported home visits
We believe that family contact is very important for our service users’ well-being so we include regular supported home visits when devising each individual’s care plan. Our care support staff arrange their transport and accompany them on their journey (overseas if necessary) and often continue to support them in their family home during their stay. If it’s not practical for individuals to stay with their relatives, then we arrange accommodation for them. This provides valuable assistance to the families too, helping them to enjoy the time spent with their loved one.

Video calls
As well as phone calls, we also use online applications and video calls to help service users and their families keep in touch – this can enhance communication for people with speech and language difficulties, making them easier to understand. It also means that their families get to see them and become more involved and reassured about their care.

We also use video calls to enable family members to participate in the review process. Our service users have an external review every 12 months where their care team and case workers review their care plan and discuss their progress. The service user can choose whether or not they take part in the review, but under The Care Act 2014, reviews must be attended by a family member or advocate.

A video call enables family members to take part in a review when they may have otherwise been unable to perhaps due to other family or work commitments. They can contribute fully to all areas discussed, see and hear the review team and ask questions as well as providing their thoughts and feelings on the care package.

If the service user declines to take part in the review, they can still have a video call with their family afterwards and speak with their care manager and review coordinator about what happened in the review.

Local environment
The immediate local environment can have a greater impact on someone’s day to day wellbeing than where they are located in the country. For example, all of our homes are situated in areas within easy reach of the town centre, but with their own communities. This means that we can visit local shops, pubs, cafes and leisure facilities and benefit from the friendly and personal service that they provide. We have found that some service users with acquired brain injuries and/or complex needs, on arrival at The Richardson Partnership for Care, have not accessed local communities for years. We facilitate and actively encourage service users to access local facilities as it is an important part of their well-being, rehabilitation and progress towards independence.

Centre of excellence
Due to historical factors, Northampton has evolved to become a centre of excellence in brain injury rehabilitation. This draws neurological experts to Northampton, which means that we have a larger pool of talented and experienced professionals in the area enabling us to deliver high quality rehabilitation care and support. We work in partnership with other support services if crisis care is required, providing continuity and orientation for service users and improving outcomes.

So, although location may be a starting point when placing someone in residential care or for residential rehabilitation, geographical distances can be overcome. It’s the quality of care, well-being and outcomes for service users that should take priority. We also find that in some cases, after a period of specialist rehabilitation, service users require less intensive support and are therefore able to go and live closer to their families.

Promoting safety as part of Action for Brain Injury Week

Kieran Richardson-Cheater in one of the new cricket helmets

Kieran Richardson-Cheater in one of the new cricket helmets

To raise awareness of the importance of protecting your head and to promote Action for Brain Injury Week, we have donated 12 cricket helmets to The Juniors at Pitsford School. The helmets are fully adjustable so suitable for children of all ages.

Headway’s Action for Brain Injury Week is an excellent campaign that raises awareness of brain injuries and the importance of prevention. Our sons attend the school and play cricket, and we were aware that the kit was being reviewed. This seemed to be the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of protecting your head to avoid the risk of brain injury. If we can encourage good safety habits in our children, they will hopefully continue them as they grow older.

Mrs Julia Willmott, Head of the Junior School, said: “’I am delighted with this kind and generous donation to The Junior School and it gives us an ideal opportunity to highlight the importance of protecting your head to the children.”

For more information about the campaign go to: www.headway.org.uk

Registered Care Home Manager Jacky Johnson

We’re very proud of the multi-disciplinary team that we have at The Richardson Partnership for Care. The Registered Managers in particular, are hugely instrumental in delivering an excellent quality of life and successful outcomes for our service users. They perform their roles with dedication and professionalism, frequently facing challenging situations. We would like to highlight and celebrate these Managers, starting with Jacky Johnson, Registered Manager at 144 Boughton Green Road – a medium/long term home for 14 men who have acquired brain injuries and complex needs.

Jacky Johnson joined The Richardson Partnership for Care as a Registered Manager over seven years ago. She is a highly respected member of our multi-disciplinary team and we asked Consultant Neuropsychiatrist Dr Seth Mensah, who has worked with Jacky since 2016, to describe her. He said:

“I would like to single out Ms Johnson for the recognition of her professionalism, excellent leadership, hardworking attitude, positive commitment and dedication to, in particular, the residents under her care at the home.

“My very first visit to the Residential Home at 144 Boughton Green Road was in 2014 and I will never forget the very welcoming and warm reception that I received from Ms Johnson and her team. I immediately realised that this was a home unlike any other home outside of The Richardson Partnership for Care that I have visited in a professional capacity. The home felt nothing like the typical ‘institutionalised’ homes for those individuals living with intellectual disabilities and acquired brain injuries/complex neurodisability that one tends to still come across in the health and care sector. It most certainly is a place that I have heard the residents themselves feel proud to call their ‘home’ in their own words.

Leadership
“Under Ms Johnson’s leadership, a true visionary and reflective leader, the staff and carers at the home are fully supported and they feel valued and empowered to fulfil their functions and roles. This leadership style translates into a team of dedicated staff who are passionate about what they do, have an in-depth understanding of the organisational culture, fully subscribe to the vision of the organisation as a whole, and perform their duties to the highest standards of care.

“The home feels very homely and welcoming. The residents are very well looked after. Every resident has their own individually-tailored and thoroughly comprehensive care and treatment plan. Under Ms Johnson’s leadership, the carers in the home, whilst maintaining the appropriate standards of true professionalism, and embracing and practicing according to strict professional guidelines, have excellent relationships with the residents and treat them as though they were close family members. This is so endearing and always heart-warming to see, especially in light of the recent bad press that the care sector has received following the sad and unfortunate events surrounding the Winterbourne Care Home scandal.

“I have found Ms Johnson to be a skilled and competent manager, a very good listener who reflects quite deeply on all matters before she speaks, and especially so when dealing with complex matters; dealing with conflict and disagreement within the multidisciplinary team; and dealing with families, especially those who still need psychological and emotional support in their journey to coming to terms with their loved ones who are or have become residents in the home.

Compassionate approach
“Ms Johnson is the kind of manager who is both passionate about and compassionate in her role in caring for those under her care. There are numerous examples of situations where Ms Johnson has demonstrated true professionalism and positive leadership.

Ms Johnson’s selfless devotion to her chosen career, her in-depth experience and expertise in this field, her unquestionable ability to deliver (clinically and managerially) to the highest standards of care, her excellent situational leadership skills, her compassionate approach to caring for the residents under her care, her passion for prudence and excellence in the care sector, her warm and approachable nature, and her exemplary ‘man-management’ skills set her far apart from her peers. And I am sure that the residents and their families, and all the multidisciplinary team at The Richardson Partnership for Care would agree with me.”

Jacky has gained a Level 4 NVQ in Leadership and Management for Care Services and a Diploma in Brain Injury Awareness module. Jacky worked in children’s services for 14 years before transferring to adult services and she continues to maintain her registration as a Social Worker.

Alongside her role as Registered Manager at The Richardson Partnership for Care, Jacky is a MAPA (Managing Actual or Potential Aggression) instructor. She continues to strive to enhance her ongoing professional development with the use of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

Jacky is a popular member of the team and her family is also a huge part of her life. She brings this emphasis on family life to the home that she manages, creating a warm, caring environment in which service users are respected, supported and valued.

We would like to thank Jacky for the hard work and dedication that she brings to the team and the positive impact that she has on all of the residents and staff at 144 Boughton Green Road.

Jacky Johnson

Jacky Johnson

The Mews rated ‘Good’ again in CQC inspection

The Mews, one of our homes providing residential care and rehabilitation for adults with acquired brain injuries in Northampton was once again rated ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  Following an unannounced inspection on 17 & 19 January 2018, The Mews was rated ‘Good’ by the CQC in all categories: Safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. We’d like to thank Registered Manager Helen Petrie and her team for maintaining its high standards, as well as always looking for ways to improve our service. You can read the details of the report below

The CQC reported the following:

“People’s individuality was respected and people continued to be treated with empathy and kindness. The staff were friendly, caring and compassionate. Positive therapeutic relationships had been developed between the people and staff.

“Detailed personalised care plans were in place, which enabled staff to provide consistent care and support in line with people’s personal preferences, choices and needs. End of life wishes were discussed and plans put in place.

“People continued to receive safe care. Staff were appropriately recruited and there were sufficient staff to meet people’s needs. People were protected from the risk of harm and received their prescribed medicines safely.

“The care that people received continued to be effective and positive outcomes for people were being achieved. Staff had access to the support, supervision and training that they required to work effectively in their roles. Development of staff knowledge and skills was encouraged. People were supported to maintain good health and nutrition and reach their full potential.

“People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible; the policies and systems in the home supported this practice. There was a variety of activities available for people to participate in, individually or as a group. Family and friends were welcomed and supported.

“The service had a positive ethos and an open culture. The provider was committed to develop the service and actively looked at ways to continuously improve the service. There were effective quality assurance systems and audits in place; action was taken to address any shortfalls.

“People knew how to raise a concern or make a complaint and the provider had implemented effective systems to manage any complaints that they may receive.”

Details of all recent CQC inspections in our homes.

Brain Injury Rehabilitation physiotherapy

Physiotherapy session for brain injury rehabilitation

Bowls sessions provide a range of benefits

One of the most popular activities that we arrange in-house for our service users is the weekly bowling sessions that we hold in the main hall at The Mews each Monday.

We are fortunate to have Duggie Mitchell on our team, who is an experienced bowling instructor and has played competitive bowls for 35 years with success at Club, County and National levels. Duggie joined the board of Disability Bowls England in 2016 and continues to be inspired by the achievements of people with disabilities. His experience, skill and enthusiasm for the game as well as his empathy with the service users have contributed to the success of the sessions. Duggie is assisted by Lisa Hutchins, the Administrator at 144 Boughton Green Road, who helps with the organisation and keeps the score.

Bowling adapted to suit the players
The format of the game is Short Mat Bowling, which is very similar to Carpet Bowling. A mat 45 feet long and 6 feet wide is laid out in the main hall with guards at either end to stop the bowls running too far. A jack is placed at one end of the mat and each player uses weighted bowls to try and hit the jack. We have adapted the rules to meet the cognition needs and suit the various abilities of the players. They bowl eight balls each and Lisa records the number of ‘strikes’. People from all of our homes join in and we have a league in which around 20 players take part. One of our service users who is blind has mastered bowling very successfully. Other service users come along to watch and support, and it’s a lively, social occasion with lots of cheering.

Key benefits to individuals
What may just look like a leisure activity is actually an important element of our service users’ care. As well as being very enjoyable, the bowling sessions also help to improve:

Physical strength and dexterity
Co-ordination
Cognition and communication
Motivation and self-esteem
Social Skills

Duggie has been running the sessions for around two years and new players can join in at any time. He has noticed significant improvements in some of the participants and says: “I have seen so much change in many of the group since we started: going from little or no eye contact or verbal communication in the early days to total interaction and response. My partner and I went along to the Christmas party recently and it was lovely to have them recognise us and want us to join them dancing.”

Thank you to Duggie and Lisa for their help and commitment to these sessions. They have contributed to some significant improvement and much enjoyment for our service users.

Duggie Mitchell demonstrating short mat bowls

Duggie Mitchell demonstrating short mat bowls

Christmas activities in our care homes

Throughout the year we have a wide range of activities for our service users with acquired brain injuries or learning disabilities to enjoy, but at Christmas this is especially important. While many service users go and stay with their families at Christmas, we want to make the day special for those who remain with us over the festive period.

Christmas activities are discussed and planned with service users in their regular house meetings, so they can decide (with support as required) what they would like to do.

This year, Sallie Maris, our Arts & Crafts lady will be ‘chief elf’ when it comes to making Christmas decorations. She will be supporting her helpers to make Christmas bunting and mobiles. Not only is this very enjoyable, it is an important part of our ongoing support and rehabilitation programme, helping people to improve their concentration and dexterity, learn new skills, give them a sense of achievement and satisfaction and increase their self-esteem. We will be using the decorations in each home, as well as for the joint Christmas party on 20th December.

Making a Christmas star

Having a large hall in The Mews enables us to provide opportunities for service users and staff from all of the homes to get together for social events. We hold short-mat bowls sessions in the hall, usually once a week, and monthly music sessions with Simon the Sax. It’s also a great place to hold the joint Christmas party and we have a travelling theatre group coming to perform The Wizard of Oz here for us.

There are lots of trips to see Aladdin at the theatre in Northampton as well as various Christmas dinners taking place – going out to the local pub for lunch, plus Rock Club (service users get together for social activities from three different organisations) and the Headway Christmas lunch. Also, the staff in each home will be coming in on Christmas Day to cook lunch and a former service user from one of our homes has been invited back to spend the day with some of his old friends.

We’ve also been baking gingerbread and other tasty treats. And our home at 23 Duston Road has a new karaoke machine, so there will plenty of singing, as well as various games to play, watching Christmas films and DVDs and going out for a Christmas Day walk, weather permitting.

From all of us at The Richardson Partnership for Care, we would like to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2018.