Introducing Louise Kirchel

Louise Kirchel is our in-house training co-ordinator, who joined The Richardson Partnership for Care in March 2017. With over 10 years’ experience as a Positive and Safe Facilitator in a mental health setting and as a care support worker, she is an ideal fit for our organisation: She understands the needs of the service users as well as the skills required to deliver the best possible care.

Each member of staff takes part in a training day every three weeks. This may be induction training or refresher training on working with people with learning disabilities or acquired brain injuries, or awareness of specific medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or dementia. Regular statutory training also includes health & safety, infection control, fire safety, food hygiene, first aid, fire awareness, data protection and equality & diversity. In addition, aspects of numeracy, literacy and information & communication technology are incorporated into each training session to improve skills in these areas.

Louise creates and delivers the training programme for all of our care support staff as well as co-ordinating the training activity, for example; who is taking part, where training will be held, and ensuring that all staff are up to date and legally compliant.

The training that Louise delivers is bespoke to our organisation, but also tailored to the staff in each care home. She uses live examples relating to the service users who have a range of complex needs and behaviours that challenge. This equips the staff better to deal with any incident that they may encounter as well as giving them the opportunity to explore situations from different perspectives. Louise is also on-hand to help staff with specific issues or provide any additional training as required.

Louise is one of four MAPA (Managing Actual or Potential Aggression) instructors at The Richardson Partnership for Care. They deliver specialised training sessions in each home for all management, care support, admin, cleaning and maintenance staff. This helps them to manage risk in the safest way possible and de-escalate potentially aggressive situations, avoiding the need to use hands-on skills.

Louise also works in partnership with community teams, outsourcing specialist medical training such as peg feeding or insulin administration and building relationships with external professionals.

Louise Kirchel, Training Co-ordinator at The Richardson Partnership for Care

Louise Kirchel, Training Co-ordinator at The Richardson Partnership for Care

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.

 

Satisfaction survey: our care home residents

Adults with acquired brain injuries, learning disabilities and complex needs

In addition to surveying the families of service users in our care on an annual basis, we also complete a questionnaire with the individuals themselves, which asks specific questions about different aspects of their lives within the care home. They are asked to respond using a satisfaction rating of 0 – 4 where 4 is the most satisfied. All of our service users have complex needs and some are unable to answer the questions, so staff either help them to answer the questions or observe their behaviours to ascertain their needs.

The results from each individual are combined to give average scores, which are shown below. There are up to five questions in each section, so the totals show an indication of satisfaction in each area.

However, as every person is different, and has different needs, our approach is always individualised, person-centred care.

bar chart showing satisfaction survey results

Service user satisfaction survey results 2017

The following gives you more information about the specific areas covered in the satisfaction survey.

Know how to complain
This question assesses how well the individual knows what to do if they have a complaint. The average overall score across the homes was 3.63 out of 4. It excludes the individuals who were unable to understand the question.

People you live with
This is very important to all of our service users, and satisfaction ratings can vary according to the type of care home as stable populations with long term residents tend to have a higher satisfaction rating. The Mews, which focuses on short-term intensive rehabilitation for adults with acquired brain injuries, naturally has more of a changing population. This can affect the dynamics of relationships between the residents. We work hard to ensure that any incoming service users will not upset the balance in any care home and we continually review our admissions policy to ensure that we receive sufficient information in advance of a full assessment of any potential new residents.

There is very much a family environment within our care homes, and many strong friendships develop between individuals. However, like a family, it doesn’t mean that everyone gets on well with everyone else all the time. Therefore it is important that we focus on relationships between individuals and use mediation and psychology to manage any disagreements. As a last resort, we can move individuals into another of our homes but this is rarely necessary.

Decision making
These questions covered how involved people feel in decisions relating to their care plan and risk assessments as well as making choices in their everyday lives.

Staffing
These questions ascertain how well service users know the support staff in their home and how they feel that they are treated by them: whether the staff are approachable, as well as whether they would like to be involved in the interview process. Many service users said that they would not want to be involved, which has reduced the average score.

Food and drink
As well as being asked about their choice of food and their cultural needs, individuals were also asked about how involved they wanted to be in menu planning and food preparation.

Activities
Many of these questions were qualitative: describing current activities undertaken or potential new ones, so a numerical score was not given. The activities that we provide are very much tailored to the individual and if something is requested but not achievable or affordable then we explore alternatives.

Environment
These questions simply asked how satisfied service users are with the communal areas of the home, the garden and their room.

Homes gain high scores in independent assessments

Headway Approved Providers
Two of our residential care homes for adults with acquired brain injuries – The Mews and 144 Boughton Green Road – have been recently re-assessed by Headway, the brain injury charity. The assessment process requires the home to demonstrate the provision of appropriate specialist care for people with complex, physical and/or cognitive impairment due to acquired brain injury. Headway has identified six key themes, or domains, against which it assesses the level of care provided, as well as issues such choice and dignity of service users. The domains are; Communication, Culture, Development, Governance, Quality, Environment (psychological/emotional) and Environment (physical).

We are pleased to report that both The Mews and 144 Boughton Green Road scored well in all of the domains to retain their Approved Provider Status for a further two years. This is subject to passing unannounced visits from Headway assessors during this time.

Headway Approved Provider

Quality Checkers
2&8 Kingsthorpe Grove, our homes for adults with learning disabilities, were recently assessed by Northamptonshire Quality Checkers. This is an independent assessment by an ‘expert by experience’ who meets residents in the home and performs a standardised quality check from the service users’ perspective. They are then supported by a co-ordinator to produce a report of their visit.

The Quality Checker on this occasion was Paul, who was visiting the homes for the first time. He met two service users with learning disabilities who live in the homes. One of them answered a series of questions and Paul used their answers to form the basis of his report. He gave the homes a top rating of ‘Very Good’ for all of the categories assessed, which were; home and bedroom, support staff, activities, food and drink, friends and people in the service user’s life, the service user’s health and what it’s like to live there.

Paul then asked the support staff and manager questions about procedures and safeguarding. As he was so pleased with the home, he made no recommendations for improvements to be made.

Information about other independent inspections of our care homes click here

Families’ survey results 2017

We encourage feedback from the families of the service users in our care on a regular basis, but once a year we formalise this process by sending them a short questionnaire to complete. It is sent to both the families of service users who have learning disabilities and those who have an acquired brain injury. We ask all families whether they strongly agree, agree, don’t know or disagree with the following statements:

1. I am happy with the care provided for my relative
2. The home has a warm, non-institutional feeling
3. The home provides an inclusive or family environment
4. Staff are friendly and approachable
5. I am regularly updated with information
6. I feel that my relative is treated with dignity and respect
7. I feel that their quality of life has improved since they arrived at The Richardson Partnership for Care
8. I feel that my relative takes part in meaningful and/or enjoyable activities
9. Would you recommend The Richardson Partnership for Care?

We are very pleased that:
100% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statements: “I am happy with the care provided” and “The home has a warm, non-institutional feeling.”

And 100% of those who answered said that they would recommend The Richardson Partnership for Care to others.

We take note of all the feedback and we’re not complacent, making sure that we address any concerns raised. The responses to each question are show below:

graph showing 2017 survey results

2017 Survey results

We would like to thank all of the family members who took the time to complete our annual survey, and we are delighted with some of the comments that we have received. Some of them are shown below with the names removed to protect the identity of the service users.

Comments from families of service users with learning disabilities:

“He has been there over 20 years. Quality of life could not be better.”

“The home is friendly and welcoming, the other residents are pleasant and friendly… They know her so well and it is her second family, and when we visit we are welcomed… She gets help and support from all and she is treated with respect and love… I have no problem recommending your services, they are outstanding.”

“He has progressed so much this year, being able to go on holiday and attend social events… He realises he is cared for well and that he is valued within his community… He is like a new man, he was very dependent on drug therapy when he arrived at Richardson’s. Your care has enabled him to flourish and grow… the social and psychological stimulation helps him make progress. We would like to thank you for all your highly skilled and sensitive work with him.”

Comments from families of service users with acquired brain injury:

“Excellent care that has made a positive difference to my husband and his demeanour… Importantly staff display a warmth, empathy and understanding towards my husband…Thank you. Your care of my husband has made a big difference to his quality of life.”

“I have always been very happy with the care my sister has… Although she is not much of a mixer, there is a good family atmosphere… She has very challenging behaviour but I think she has the best quality of life possible… As long as she has been with the Richardson Partnership, she has only ever got the best care possible.”

 

Summer activities for Service Users

The summer is always a special time of year when, hopefully, the weather allows us to make the most of being outdoors, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. When it comes to holidays, we make sure that they meet the needs of our service users, who are supported in deciding where they go and who accompanies them. Holidays take a lot of planning, which starts early in the year. But this pays off as they are really enjoyed by the service users who speak fondly of them on their return.

2 & 8 Kingsthorpe Grove – adults with learning difficulties
As many of our service users in these homes have been with us for a long time, they have built friendships and are aware of each others’ strengths, abilities, likes and dislikes. They go away in small groups and are involved in choosing their holiday companions and location. They like familiarity of holiday destinations and routine, so we work to get the balance right, taking into account relaxation and adventure. Destinations have included Yarmouth, Devon, the Isle of Wight and EuroDisney.

Individuals with acquired brain injuries
For our service users with acquired brain injuries, their needs can be more wide-ranging so we tend to organise holidays for small groups of two or three people, and some one-to-one holidays. One of our service users at the Mews had his first holiday since his brain injury 18 years ago when he went to Hemsby in Norfolk with two staff members. He had never wanted to go on holiday previously but had settled in really well since admission, so we offered him the opportunity. He went early in the season before it was too busy and it went really well. He normally mobilises in a wheelchair but he walked whilst in the holiday chalet.

Wherever possible, we try to accommodate specific requests for holiday destinations. The holidays are financed by accruing a certain amount each month then topped up if someone requires something extra. One lady wanted to go to the Eden Project, so with the help of the case manager, we sourced an adapted holiday home and we liaised with a local doctors’ surgery who were able to provide medical support. She went for a week with two carers.

One of our service users went to stay with his family in Serbia, while others shared a caravan at a holiday park in Skegness. Three people went for the first half of the week, three people went for the second half of the week and two joined them for a day trip in the middle. A good time was had by all – they enjoyed the evening entertainment in the clubhouse and daytime activities included going to the amusement arcade, the beach and the funfair, as well as paddle-boating and horse-riding.

In addition, a couple of service users went for a “Revitalise” holiday to Essex, where they joined in with activities such as armchair exercises, bingo and karaoke and had day trips to Clacton and Southend.

Not only is an annual summer holiday an enjoyable experience, for service users with acquired brain injuries, it is also an important part of their rehabilitation programme. It is part of our focus on ‘normalisation’, enabling them to live as close to a normal life as possible and to enjoy things that they may have done before their brain injury, such as having a picnic or fish and chips by the seaside.

The Norfolk Coast

The Norfolk Coast

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