New Acquired Brain Injury Care Home Opening

We’re pleased to announce the launch of The Coach House – our new residential care and rehabilitation service for 11 adults with acquired brain injuries. And to celebrate, we’re holding an Open Day on Thursday 24th January, 2019.

The Coach House is a self-contained home in the grounds of The Mews, another of our specialist residential care homes in Kingsthorpe, Northampton. We’ve spent a lot of time, thought and effort in creating the best environment we can to help people recover from brain injuries and rebuild their lives. We believe that designing a home that is accessible, practical and safe does not mean that it can’t also be cosy, comfortable and feel like home. In fact, we believe this is crucial to service users’ well-being and their engagement in their own rehabilitation plan.

We have some fantastic speakers involved in the event, so please come along to celebrate the opening of the Coach House, meet the team at The Richardson Partnership for Care and find out more about brain injury rehabilitation.

Open Day Programme

9.30am – arrival and coffee
10.00am – 1.00pm – presentations and discussions

Dr Seth A. Mensah, MB ChB, MSc, DPM, MRCPsych – Consultant Neuropsychiatrist
“The Brain and Human Behaviour – What has Phineas Gage taught us?”

Pedro Areias Grilo, HCPC, MSc – Consultant Clinical Psychologist
“Positive Behavioural Tool – capturing positive behaviours in neurorehabilitation”

Jo Throp – Neurological Occupational Therapist and Clinical Director at Krysalis Consultancy
“Occupational Therapy and its role in brain injury rehabilitation”

1.00pm ribbon cutting, lunch and tour of facilities
2.00pm close

Please reply to Sian.Richardson@careresidential.co.uk or call her on 01604 791071 for more information.

The Coach House residential home for adults with acquired brain injuries

The Coach House, Kingsthorpe, Northampton NN2 7PW

Activities for adults with acquired brain injuries

Building confidence and self-esteem
As well as specific therapeutic inputs, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and psychology sessions, service users in our care can also choose to take part in a range of activities each week, depending on their needs and abilities. These activities include music sessions, arts and crafts, ASDAN learning sessions, swimming, visiting local cafes, shops, etc. Not only are they fun and enjoyable activities in their own right, but they are also important in providing a ‘normal’ lifestyle and they support the therapeutic regime provided by the Multi-Disciplinary Team.

One popular activity for several of our service users with acquired brain injuries is Rock Club. It brings together people using different brain injury services in Northamptonshire to take part in a wide range of different activities: Anything from a disco and karaoke night to a bake-off competition, film night or quiz.

Halloween is a big event and the fancy dress disco is eagerly anticipated. Sallie Maris, the Arts and Crafts Co-ordinator at The Richardson Partnership for Care helped some of the service users prepare their Halloween costumes, which was all part of the fun.

Dressing up for HalloweenPreparing for the Halloween party

The Rock Club summer fun day was also a big occasion, with a barbecue, side shows and a visit from ‘Party Animals’ – an organisation that enables people to have close encounters with reptiles, rodents and mammals so they can learn more about them, overcome their fears and build confidence. Terry, one of our service users with an acquired brain injury was inspired to create this poster after the Rock Club summer fun day because he enjoyed it so much.

Terry's Rock Club poster

Rock Club events are held in Northamptonshire every other month, but the benefits extend to both before and after each occasion, and they are just part of the programme of activities included in the care plans for our service users.

As well as being very enjoyable, a varied activity schedule is important to service users in many ways: It helps them to build relationships with other people in a safe, supportive and good-humoured environment. This improves their well-being, self-esteem and confidence. In addition, the activities themselves help to improve motor skills, dexterity, co-ordination, concentration, memory skills, communication and vocal skills.

Service users’ families’ survey results 2018

At The Richardson Partnership for Care we have an open-door policy so the family members and friends of the service users in our care can visit at any time. As this is not practical for everyone we also include supported home visits in individuals’ care plans. As well as contributing to the service users’ well-being and family relationships, it also helps to encourage feedback from family members about the care that their loved one is receiving. In addition, we send out an annual questionnaire so that we can formalise the feedback process and identify any changes that are needed. Our service users have acquired brain injuries, learning disabilities and/or complex needs, so everyone’s requirements are different, but this process helps us to see the overall picture, identify trends and flag up any issues.

The questionnaires can be anonymous and they are optional, so we may only receive a relatively small number of responses. However, we are very grateful to the family members who complete them. Once again, we have received some very positive feedback and some lovely comments, but we are never complacent. We regularly step back and review our services and are always looking to improve.

The same questionnaire is sent to 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 pleased that:
100% of those who answered said that they would recommend the Richardson Partnership for Care to others.

100% of those who answered said that they strongly agreed or agreed with the statements:
“The home has a warm, non-institutional feeling”
“Staff are friendly and approachable”
“I feel that my relative is treated with dignity and respect”

94% of those who answered said that they strongly agreed or agreed with the statements:
“I am happy with the care provided for my relative”
“The home provides an inclusive or family environment”

All of the 2018 families’ questionnaire results are shown in the graph below.

2018 Survey Results

Some of the comments that we received are shown below with the names removed to protect the identity of the service users.

Comments from families of service users with an acquired brain injury:
“My sister has very good care and kindness at all times, which I know is not easy to achieve…Everyone works together to make it feel like a real family home.”

“The staff do appear to genuinely care about my brother.”

Comments from families of service users with learning disabilities:

“The home is superior to most other homes visited.”

“The staff have always been very supportive to our family.”

“He is very happy at Kingsthorpe Grove, we wouldn’t wish for him to be anywhere else.”

“He is more alert because of the time and effort the Manager and staff have worked to cut down on the amount of unnecessary drugs he was taking, which enables him to live his life in an enjoyable and contented way of his choosing.”

“He has a full and happy life. Everyone seems pleased to work with him. He could not receive better care.”

We would like to thank all of the family members who took the time to complete our annual survey.

Brain injury rehabilitation – Kay’s story

Kay - brain injury survivor

Kay has transformed her life with the help of the MDT and support staff at The Richardson Partnership for Care

When she was only 18 months old, Kay contracted Encephalitis and consequently experienced severe epilepsy. At the age of 13, she underwent surgery on her frontal lobe, which further exacerbated the brain damage. Kay also has a diagnosis of moderate learning disability.

Kay lived at home with her mother and grandmother before moving to specialist residential schools and other settings. At the age of 27, Kay moved to The Mews at The Richardson Partnership for Care. She had previously resided in a private hospital, but the placement broke down due to her risk behaviours and the inability to manage Kay in that environment.

Behaviour on Admission to The Richardson Partnership for Care
Kay’s challenging behaviour was thought to be underpinned by poor impulsivity control and a reactive approach to challenging situations due to her brain injury.

On admission, Kay presented with severe verbal and physical aggression towards herself and others. She also would make false allegations towards staff and other residents, disregarding staff prompts and instructions compromising her and others’ overall safety.

Kay was offered a holistic approach to help her to manage her challenging behaviour and become more self-aware. With the support of the multi-disciplinary team at The Richardson Partnership for Care and her care support workers, Kay has transformed her quality of life.

Read Kay’s brain injury rehabilitation case study in full here

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