Olivia and Jo join the psychology team

Assistant Psychologists Olivia Shepherd and Jovita Valuckaite have joined Julita Frackowska in the psychology team, which is headed up by Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Pedro Areias Grilo.

The Assistant Psychologists are assigned to specific service users depending on their needs and the homes in which they live. Julita supports service users in 2 & 8 Kingsthorpe Grove who have learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and mental health needs. Olivia works with service users at 144 Boughton Green Road and The Mews, providing psychological and practical support for people with acquired brain injuries and mental health needs, and Jo works with service users at 23 Duston Road and The Mews, supporting people with acquired brain injuries, dual diagnosis, mental health needs and behaviour that challenges.

The Assistant Psychologists perform an important role, completing psychometric assessments for service users to monitor cognition, mood, mental state and behaviour. They provide psychological reports for each individual, which include a functional analysis of their risk behaviours which is used to inform their individualised treatment plan. They also offer advice, psychological support (including cognitive behavioural therapy, cognitive stimulation therapy, substance misuse work and relaxation) as well as providing practical support such as budgeting and functional living skills.

Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Pedro Areias Grilo heads the psychology team. He is an inspiration to his colleagues due to his work ethic and methodical approach but most of all, he is immensely passionate about making a difference to service users. He works closely with other members of our multi-disciplinary clinical team, especially Consultant Neuropsychiatrist Dr Seth Mensah, to develop individualised treatment plans for service users. He also works directly with the service users to provide therapy, supporting them and monitoring their progress. In addition, Pedro oversees the work of the Assistant Psychologists, both supporting them in their role to deliver therapy and complete standard assessments but also challenging them academically to find better ways of working.

Olivia Shepherd and Jovita Valuckaite

From left to right: Assistant Psychologists Olivia Shepherd and Jovita Valuckaite

Dawn is finalist in Learning Disabilities Awards

Dawn BriggsWe’re delighted to report that Dawn Briggs reached the final of the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards 2017 in the Support Worker of the Year Award.

Dawn started work at The Richardson Partnership for Care in 1995 as an Administrator and Co-ordinator/ Activity Support Worker, soon becoming an integral part of the home, developing relationships with service users.

To care means genuine concern for others, to listen, empower, be adaptable, dedicated and have integrity. Dawn has all of these attributes, most of all she is sociable, compassionate and good natured. She is dependable and responsive to people’s needs, wants and aspirations.

An essential part of Dawn’s ethos is her interpersonal skills, enabling her to relate to service users and understand individual’s differences. On many occasions Dawn has gone the extra mile to help service users, which demonstrate her strengths as a carer.

Here is just one example of Dawn’s supportive and compassionate nature and we are very proud to have her as part of our team.

Denise’s story
In the early years, one service user in particular, named Denise, started becoming close to Dawn. In 1998, Dawn invited her into the office for coffee. When Denise showed an interest in photocopying, Dawn was patient and took time to show Denise how it worked. After a couple of months Denise felt confident to start using the photocopier.

Denise has now been working in the office with Dawn for 19 years and Dawn has become an integral part of her care. She has supported Denise with her personal care, medical appointments and shopping trips, as well as making her feel valued in her role in the office. Dawn is never phased by Denise’s, at times, ‘colourful’ behaviour, and calmly, verbally de-escalates any anxiety that Denise feels, which has enabled her to live a more fulfilling life.

Dawn is now the most significant person in Denise’s life, which can be illustrated by a situation recently when Denise became critically ill with a life threatening condition. After being admitted to the local hospital, she was transferred to an ICU ward in an induced coma, in a specialist neurological hospital in another county.

Dawn took time out of her day to travel to the unit, where she spent time talking and reassuring Denise’s family: her mother, sister and brother.

Dawn also sat with Denise, talking quietly about their 19 years. In fact, Dawn was the first person that Denise asked for when she woke from her coma, and Dawn was there.

Thank you letter
And this is the letter that Denise’s sister wrote to Jackie Mann, Registered Manager at Denise’s home:

“I wanted to drop you a line to tell you again what wonderful people you all are for looking after my beloved sister Denise, and I would like to personally thank Dawn who is like a second mum to my sister. She has given her the time and patience to learn new skills while working in the office with her and helps Denise with all her personal needs, which is a difficult task with Denise. And recently, with Denise’s stay in hospital, Dawn went above and beyond for Denise. I could see the bond they have, which was wonderful to see. The first person Denise asked for when she woke up from her coma was Dawn. Please pass on my thanks to her for caring for my sister, which she does flawlessly, and to you and all your wonderful team.”

My warmest regards,
Mrs Karen Bence


Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards 2017

We believe it’s very important to celebrate the excellent work that goes on day in and day out in caring for people with learning disabilities. We are therefore pleased to be part of the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards, which pay tribute to the hardworking and inspirational people who work in this sector, as well as the people they care for.

We are dedicated to providing a positive, supportive and homely environment for the service users with learning disabilities who live in our homes. We support people with complex needs and behaviour that challenges and getting the physical environment right is relatively easy. It’s the staff within the homes who make the difference.

We have decided to sponsor the Manager Award this year as we are fortunate to have some excellent managers who have worked in our homes for many years and we appreciate just how much of an impact they have on the success of a home. They lead by example and are crucial in developing and inspiring the managers of the future.

More information about the awards

National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards logo

European Neuro Convention – 7 & 8 June 2017

At this time of year, members of our admissions and referrals team and some of our senior managers are getting out and about across the country at various events. In June, we’re taking part in the European Neuro Convention at ExCeL London.

The European Neuro Convention is Europe’s largest event of its kind, aimed at medical professionals working in the rehabilitation of neurological conditions. Educational seminars, workshops and networking are run alongside an exhibition of around 150 companies.

CPD points can be earned in the educationally-focused seminar schedule and interactive workshops and live demos will take place.

Neuro Rehab runs alongside COPA Practice Growth and Elite Sports Therapy & Medical Rehabilitation and tickets provide entry into all three shows. They are available for free at www.neuroconvention.com or by calling 0117 929 6092.

We’d love you to come and see us at stand 9020 in the exhibition.

European Neuro Convention 2017

Free Tickets for Social Care Conference

Our admissions and referrals team, along with our senior managers, attend various exhibitions and conferences in the fields of social care, learning disability and brain injury rehabilitation. They take place all over the country and enable us to stay up to date with the latest developments and meet experts in related fields.

We are taking part in the exhibition at The Future of Social Care Conference: Integrated care solutions and we have been allocated a limited number of free conference places (worth £325 + VAT each). We’re offering them to our contacts on a first come, first served basis. Please contact us if you would like a ticket.

The event takes place on 16 May 2017, at Adelphi House, University of Salford. At the conference, leading experts will offer unique insights into new models of care and the latest developments in government policy aimed at meeting the ever-increasing demands on the social care sector in the UK.

Topics covered on the day will include:

  • How will the additional £2 billion of funding announced in the spring budget be allocated and what impact will it have?
  • What structural changes will be needed to overhaul the social care system?
  • What is the New Care Models Programme and what implications does it have for social care?
  • What impact is the crisis in social care having on the NHS?
  • How could closer integration of primary and acute care ease the pressure on the social care system?
  • How will STPs address the fragmented nature of the health and social care sectors?
  • How can new technology be used to improve the quality of social care?

If you’re going along, please come and see us at the exhibition on the ground floor, stand AH005.

Welcome back to Helen Petrie!

It’s hard to believe that Helen Petrie has now been Home Manager at The Mews for over a year.

Helen first joined The Richardson Partnership for Care in 2002, starting as a Senior Support Worker and then gaining NVQ qualifications in Health & Social Care and Management & Leadership. She left to widen her experience and worked as a Manager in a care home for the elderly, which was owned by a large national organisation. In the five years that Helen was Manager, she turned the home around from having CQC notifications and being non-compliant in all areas to being fully compliant.

Helen returned to The Richardson Partnership for Care as Registered Manager at The Mews in March 2016 and is pleased to be back. She said: “It felt as though I’d come back home. It’s a very supportive environment and I feel part of a big family. I’ve loved my first year back and it’s gone very quickly. It’s good to come back with a new perspective and wider experience. My role has many aspects but I most enjoy helping people develop to the best of their abilities.”

You can view Helen’s profile and find out more about our management and multi-disciplinary team

Helen Petrie

Helen Petrie, Registered Home Manager at The Mews

Person-centred care: What does it mean?

In the fields of brain injury rehabilitation, caring for adults with challenging behaviour and caring for adults with learning disabilities, a ‘one size fits all’ approach would consistently fail. In all walks of life we are all individuals with different personalities, characteristics and preferences. When an acquired brain injury or learning disability is added to the mix, then catering for individual needs is more important than ever. But what does that mean in practice?

At The Richardson Partnership for Care we have a multi-disciplinary team of therapists who are all involved with each individual’s care to a greater or lesser extent, depending on their needs. This multi-disciplinary team comprises a consultant neuropsychiatrist, psychologist, assistant psychologists, home manager, service manager, physiotherapist, speech & language therapist and occupational therapist. The multi-disciplinary team meets regularly to review and discuss the care package that is put together for each individual. We aim to deliver the most effective care while reducing the administrative burden by providing an inclusive care package. This means that funding is agreed at the outset and we don’t have to put in extra requests for additional ad hoc support.

Each service user also has a dedicated key worker who gets to know them and who provides valuable continuity in their care. This key worker, along with other activity support workers, helps to deliver some of the therapy advised by the multi-disciplinary team.

Person-centred care can also mean thinking outside the box to deliver the right type of therapy and activities to encourage confidence building, for example, or physical dexterity. These activities may include arts and crafts, music, drama, sport, computer games, board games, cooking, shopping or gardening.

We have found that ongoing clinical psychology provision is crucial for the well-being and progress of service users, whether they have an acquired brain injury or learning disabilities. It helps to maintain their mental health and any problems can be addressed early, helping to prevent the need for crisis care. We have also found that reducing drug therapy and focussing on psychosocial approaches can result in better outcomes for service users in the longer term.

Below is a testimonial from the carers of one of our service users about how our person-centred approach has helped their nephew. It was written after they visited him in December 2016.

“Pat and I visited John yesterday and we were greeted by a very calm and cheerful young man. We both know how much work this takes and we are very grateful for this. We are so grateful for your tremendous work and commitment over the years to him, and we also know how much you care for him. More importantly he knows how much you all care and love him in spite of his incessant verbalising. We are very proud of our nephew and we are extremely grateful for your expert work in moving away from drug therapy to modifying his behaviour through psychosocial approaches. John is a much healthier man because of your imaginative and professional strategies you use to manage his behaviour and we thank you for this.”

This diagram shows the support team that delivers the care plan for each individual service user.

Record number of ASDAN certificates awarded in 2016

Congratulations to all service users at The Richardson Partnership for Care who gained ASDAN certificates in 2016. There was a grand total of 41 certificates awarded.

ASDAN is the Awards Scheme Development Accreditation Network, which provides courses to thousands of training providers. The courses offer flexible learning opportunities and enable skills to be recognised with accredited and independently verified qualifications. The Richardson Partnership for Care became an officially recognised ASDAN accreditation centre in May 2012.

All service users, whether they have an acquired brain injury or learning disabilities, can benefit from the ASDAN courses. As well as recognising and increasing skills, they provide a sense of achievement and fulfilment. They can also increase motivation and provide encouragement for further learning.

Five certificates in ‘Independent Living’ and ten certificates in ‘Myself and Others’ were awarded to service users with learning difficulties. Twenty six certificates were awarded to service users with acquired brain injuries. The subjects were: Independent Living (7), Myself and Others (15), Numeracy Skills – Introduction (2) and Numeracy Skills – Progression (2).

Everyone worked very hard and most pass levels were either ‘no help’ or ‘spoken help’, with two being experience recorded.

Annual survey of service users’ families

Earlier this year we conducted our annual survey amongst the families of service users in our care. While we try to encourage feedback throughout the year, the survey enables a more structured approach to gathering the views of family members on the care and support received by their loved ones. The survey includes all of the residents in our homes with learning difficulties and/or an acquired brain injury.

As the survey is optional, the number of responses can be quite small. However, below is a summary of the feedback that we have received. All of the names have been removed to protect the anonymity of the service users.

100% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement: 
“I am happy with the care provided”

95% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement:
“The home has a warm, non-institutional feeling.”

95% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement:
“The home has an inclusive or family environment.”

100% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement:
“Staff are friendly and approachable”

94% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement:
“I feel that my relative is treated with dignity and respect”

89% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement:
“I feel that their quality of life has improved since they arrived at The Richardson Partnership for Care”

100% of respondents said that they would recommend The Richardson Partnership for Care.

We are continuing to focus on keeping families informed and we are trying to improve our performance in this area. 78% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement: “I am regularly updated with information.” Although this is an improvement on last year’s survey results, we recognise that more needs to be done.

We were pleased to receive the following comments:

“Our son has made remarkable progress since living there. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Particular thanks to Darren Kendall, his keyworker, our son considers him his ‘big brother’.”

“Your team always strive to meet our son’s needs. I mean all his needs both physical and psychological. He is treated in a very empowering way, his achievements are always celebrated. He has never been happier than this, you have enabled him to achieve so much. We want you to know that we really appreciate your professional and person-centred approach to meeting our son’s needs and enabling him to become contented and happy. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this.”

“I always come unannounced. That is never a problem: I always get a warm welcome.”

“[We think] that all staff at The Mews should have a pat on the back. They have been great, caring and attentive and look after our daughter so well. When they bring her home to our house, the care does not stop. We feel that she is in the best place.”

We would like to thank all of the family members who took the time to complete our annual survey. If you would like any further information about our services, please contact us.

The Mews is praised by independent Quality Checker

The Mews, our residential care home providing short-term intensive rehabilitation for adults with acquired brain injuries, was recently assessed by Northamptonshire Quality Checkers. They are ‘experts by experience’ and perform quality assessments from a service user’s perspective.

This was the third time that Northamptonshire Quality Checkers had assessed the home so expectations were high. Our Quality Checker this time was Paul, supported by a Co-ordinator, Karen. There were no recommendations to follow-up from the previous visit and one of the service users interviewed last time has since moved out. Paul spoke to a young lady “L” whom he’d met last time but not interviewed. They discussed various aspects of life at The Mews and these were some of his findings:

About the home – Very Good:  “L said she felt safe in her home and she said it’s very important to feel safe…She likes her home and she is very independent”

Food and drink – Very Good:  “L makes all her own food and drinks herself… L does all her own shopping.”

Friends and people in the resident’s life – Very Good: “L is happy with the people in her life and she feels safe”

Health – Very Good: “L goes to the doctor, dentist and to have her eyes tested and wears glasses. Staff do talk to her about her health needs and she has had an annual health check. L knows what her medication is for.”

Staff and support – Good: “L said staff still talked to her nicely and they do really listen to her… L said she has not been asked to help on staff interviews but she said she would like to do this”

Activities – Good: “L told us she likes going bowling, shopping and to the cinema. L said she went to Wales on holiday last year and is going to Great Yarmouth this year, she doesn’t really go on day trips but she said ‘I would like to go on day trips’.”

About the resident making changes in their life and how they feel – Very Good: “L said she is still happy at the home, she said ‘I know I need to move but I like it here’. L thinks she will move out in the coming year and has been working towards this… We asked if she would tell people the home was a good place to live, she said ‘I do all the time’.”

Paul also asked the staff and manager questions about how they ensure the safety of residents, how they deal with misconduct, managing risk and staff training. He made the following conclusions:
• “The staff know what they need to do, they are nice, they are friendly, I didn’t see no problems”
• “The house is beautiful and has a lot of space – I really like it”
• “ I think this is a good home and L said she wanted to stay”

He also recommended that:
• L should be invited to help with staff interviews
• Staff should discuss with L the types of additional activities and day trips that she’s like to take part in.

These recommendations were addressed by the manager and no issues remained outstanding.

One of our communal lounge areas at The Mews