There is No Such Thing As A Minor Brain Injury | UKABIF Expert Seminar

Wendy Coleman | Homes Manager - Duston RdWendy Coleman, ( Home Manager, Duston Rd) attended the UKABIF expert seminar day in October last year and really enjoyed the talks that were presented for the day. The topics that were covered were:

  • Endocrine Problems in Acquired Brain Injury

(by Prof. Mike Barnes, Chair of UKABIF & Professor of Neurological Rehabilitation, Hunters Moor Neurorehabilitation)

  • Vestibular Dysfunction

(by Dr Ruth Kent Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Rehabilitation Medicine, Pinderfields General Hospital, Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, Academic Unit of Musculoskeletal and Rehabilitation Medicine)

  • What you see isn’t always what you get (Structured testing and functioning in the real world)

(by Jayne Brake, an Occupational Therapy Manager and Jackie Parker, Director at J S Parker – a Specialist Brain and Spinal Injury Case management and Rehabilitation Services)

  • Persuading Funders and Service Providers to Do Their Duty

(by Louis Browne, Barrister, Exchange Chambers)

  • My Story

(by Craig Blackie, sharing his story of his personal struggle with the trivialisation of the ‘hidden’ disabilities resulting from his brain injury)

  • The impact of brain injury: discovering the nature and extent of an injury’s effects

(by Bill Braithwaite, QC, Exchange Chambers)

Wendy said that the bits that stood out for her were the definitions of “executive functions” and “executive control”. Executive functions are central processes that are most intimately involved in giving organisation and order to our actions and behaviours.  They have been compared to the maestro who conducts an orchestra – pulling everything together to work.  It is essentially the ability to organise thoughts and work to create plans and successfully execute them to manage the administrative functions of one’s life.

Executive control, on the other hand, is the capacity to reflect on your situation and life to evaluate what is working and what is not in order to formulate plans of action and to learn to carry out such plans successfully. It also includes the capacity to learn from mistakes so that we don’t make the same ones over and over again.

Situations where executive functioning are essential are:

  • Those that involve planning or decision making
  • Those that involve correction
  • Dangerous or technically difficult situations
  • Those that require overcoming a strong habitual response or resisting temptation

What Wendy really liked about this event, was that it was a relatively small event which really gave everyone a chance to not only meet and hear from some real experts from the field of brain injury, but to also have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the issues raised.

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All of our staff attend regular events to retain their level of professional knowledge in the field that we are in (specialist residential care for adults with an acquired brain injury and/or learning difficulties). Each Home Manager (particularly) is active in attending brain injury or learning difficulty professional seminars/events and ensure that they are also in touch with the local community and professional groups to keep RPC at the forefront of our industry.

Exhibition Season: A Busy Time For The Admissions and Referrals Team

The Admissions and Referrals Team have just finished a really busy time of the year – Exhibition Season. September to November is a hectic time for our team – we share going to a wide variety of seminars, professional networking events, and conferences booked all round the country.

We really enjoy this time of year – we get to attend some smaller intimate events where we really learn a lot about advances in rehabiliation in our field, as well as share good practice (like at the Approved Provider Event held by Headway at their Nottingham Headquarters). The bigger events and conferences offer us the opportunity to share what we do with a  larger audience, as well as get to hear some magnificent specialist speakers (like the Kemsley conference, hosted by St Andrews Healthcare in Birmingham where 300+ delegates attended).

Exhibition Season: A Busy Time For The Admissions and Referrals Team

These events take a lot of planning from our perspective – especially when we are exhibiting. Sometimes it involves the team having an overnight trip as the exhibitor stands often have to be set up early in the morning before everyone arrives. Someone from the Admissions and Referrals team will accompany one of our Homes Managers, and we may even take one of our seniors (like Julie Pacey from Boughton Green Rd) and our Clinical Psychologist Dr Lorraine Childs. We call them our “hit team” – because we then have a representative on the stand that cover every angle from admission, needs assessment and rehabilitation and of course we always therefore have a technical or profession specialist on hand who is able to answer any specific questions that people may have when they visit our stand.

One of the biggest benefits of attending all of the events that we do is that we get to meet a wide range of people who have an interest or a stake in care for people with brain injuries and learning disabilities. They might work for the NHS, Social Care or be in a private or voluntary organisation.

It has to also be said that sometimes there is also a really personal element to those events where they have managed to engage a speaker who has been touched by brain injury or learning difficulties in a very real way and they get to share their story with us.

If you think there is an event we should know about – please drop us a comment below, give our admissions and referrals team a call on 01604 791 266  or Tweet us on @RPC_residcare

Residential Care: Professional, Considered Care of Vulnerable Adults

I felt compelled to write something in a response to the recent news items on the cases of criminal neglect of people with disabilities while in the care of a private hospital. This is the most horrific catalogue of abuse and neglect that I have ever heard of.  The program was horrendous to watch and as a care home owner I was sickened to the core.  The jail terms were welcome but quite honestly not long enough for the severity of the crimes in my opinion.  The rights of people with disabilities have still got a long way to go in even just safeguarding the basic human rights and preserving the individual’s needs and wants.

While we do not run a medical facility (i.e. a hospital), our service is residential care for adults with acquired brain injuries (ABI) and/or learning difficulties. We create a home and all that comes with that. My mother and father started The Richardson Partnership for Care in 1989 when identifying that there was a serious lack in professional care and attention for people who had sustained an ABI or indeed had a learning disability. In fact I grew up with some of the Service Users who are still residing in our homes today. But, the question that I asked myself late into the night after watching that BBC programme was: “How do I know that this is not happening in my homes?” And, actually, the answers came quite quickly and simply:

  • Our homes have been developed, maintained and staffed – purely with the needs of the Service Users in mind
  • Complaints (if received) are taken seriously and investigated fully (by my senior staff, my husband and myself)
  • We employ staff with a minimum of 12 months experience (so that we are sure that they have understood the environment before starting to work with us – we then have an intensive training programme we put our staff through that not many other care homes do)
  • We train our staff to become accredited through the Crisis Prevention Institute (non-violent crisis intervention )
  • Our staff all have training every 3 weeks so that we keep their skills and learning on top form and ensure that the learning is directly implemented into their roles
  • Our staff are regularly supervised and we have performance management appraisals built into our people management structure
  • We have high staff ratios versus Service Users (there is always enough staff to support each other and the Service Users – even for the toughest of days)
  • My husband and I (as the managing partners) live in walking distance of the homes and often bump into people (Service Users and staff) when we are going about our daily life
  • We have monthly internal audits of the homes
  • All of our five homes have had a fully compliant Care and Quality Commission inspection report within the last year (all “surprise” visits and we have received satisfaction ratings and wonderful feedback from the inspectors themselves)

This leads me to want to defend my profession and say that if done responsibly Residential Care can be a positive life choice for people who have a need for it.  Social isolation is regularly an issue for people with disabilities and the support system, encouragement, fun and laughter that I witness within a group environment is one reason that I love my job.

Service Users that lack self-esteem and enthusiasm regularly thrive when involved in meaningful community activities. We are having great success in giving people the skills and confidence to go out into the community and live independently much more quickly than could have been imagined. Also our Service Users have valuable personal space in their own rooms or transitional suites to make sure that they can pick and choose when they feel like interacting.

Hopefully I have managed to share the fact that Winterbourne View is terrible example of what really can’t be described as “care” – and to let you know that there are providers, like ourselves, who are seriously committed to person-centred care, where the individual is respected as any person would and should be. The prevailing passion that started when we opened our first home 23 years ago in which we lived and my parents worked at the time (I was 10 years old) is to run a positive place that people enjoy calling their home and are supported by a professional, compassionate team of staff and a group of peers to fulfil their potential. I am committed to listen to complaints and feedback both positive and negative to ensure that my homes are not destructive places to live.

If you would like to chat to me at any point, or ask me any questions about The Richardson Partnership for Care – then please contact me on 01604 791266 or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Our Five Star Maintenance Team – Trained and Professional

People often ask us how we keep our homes up to such a good standard of decoration and condition.  This is a post to give you some insights into how important we think environment is to the care we give our Service Users.   We strongly believe that light, spacious, attractive living spaces improve mood and wellbeing.  Our maintenance team is trained and tasked with supporting us as a business to enhance and maintain our homes, so that our Service Users can enjoy our properties as HOMES rather than institutions.

This being said, our homes are busy places with many people living in them with different needs and behaviours and as such it can be a challenge to maintain them to the standard we expect – i.e. homely places, that look and feel comfortable…but don’t look like “care facilities”.  This is where our fantastic maintenance team come in…

Over the years we have developed a comprehensive team – they are a great asset to us and skilled in a variety of trades such as plumbing, decorating, carpentry and plastering.  Each member of the team is directly employed by us –  we thoroughly  induct and train them, so that we know that they are not only proficient in their particular trade, but also in operating within our specialised environment. They are methodically interviewed; CRB and reference checked; and have to complete all of our staff training so that they are competent in dealing with our Service Users professionally and in a way that does not place any stress on them.

We have found that having our own professional maintenance team has worked much better in upholding our commitment to enhancing Service Users’ lives  – because it was difficult in the past to get the kind of contractors who were not only trained in their trade, but also sensitive to the kind of environment that they would work in, in our homes. External contractors (in our experience) simply did not have empathy nor the understanding of the impact that they could potentially have by merely being present in our homes as “strangers” (in our Service Users’ eyes).

When Service Users come to live with us – the maintenance team are on hand to make sure that the room is to tailored to the persons’ taste and needs.  We encourage Service Users, families and social workers to meet with the maintenance team so that they make sure that all requests are fulfilled to their satisfaction.  Our view is that this is going to be the Service User’s home and as such we strongly believe they should personalise it.  All rooms are refreshed (painted and decorated into neutral tones) when people leave so that they are ready for the next person to put their stamp on it.

Within our responsibilities as the business and property owners we carry out regular environmental checks and all of our homes are refreshed as often as needed – which tends to be roughly once or twice a year, but on-going repairs are continual.  Our Maintenance Manager, Paul Clarke, oversees the smooth running of the team and supervises them.  He is an experienced builder who has worked for us for over 10 years and is invaluable when problems arise as he has experience of most eventualities and how to solve them.

Here are some facts for you:

  • The property maintenance team is made up of 7 people (full and part-time employed)
  • They have used over 2000 meters of pipe in The Mews building alone
  • They use over 600 litres of paint per year
  • The team drink approximately 600 litres of tea per month (as much as the paint they use!)
  • They maintain 70 toilets
  • We have trained 2 apprentices – pictured below (Danny Quigley who is now an NVQ qualified decorator and Rob Payne who is now an NVQ qualified plumber)

Part of the maintenance of our properties includes the gardens at each of the homes – for this we use Hayeswood Landscapes for our gardens.  We have worked with them for years and have an agreement with them, with a clear timeline and landscaping rota – our gardens have never looked so good as when we decided to use Hayeswood team to look after our “green” needs to help make the gardens look at their best at all times. They are brilliant as they do some more heavier duty tasks like renewing fences in the winter when there aren’t as many general gardening needs to stay on top of.  The team who carry out the work are fantastic and (crucially) it is always the same people so that there is continuity and familiarity for our Services Users and staff.

We are very pleased and definitely blessed with our maintenance team (property and grounds) – they have earned five stars in eyes year after year and we hope for many more years working together…towards the same goal: creating the kind of homes that Service Users are proud to call their own.

Staff Profile – Natasha Bissett

This is part of a series of blog posts which we have created to introduce you to our team of professionals who make up the backbone of our organisation. The posts feature staff across the whole business: in the homes, referrals and admissions, multi-disciplinary therapies, maintenance, etc. They are written as a relaxed conversation, so you can get to know the “people” in our team.


Natasha Bissett is the Administration Co-ordinator at our Boughton Green Rd Home and she has been with us since December 2011.  Natasha is the angel of the house who keeps everyone on their toes and supports her Home Manager (Jacky Johnson) wherever she is needed.  Her biggest responsibility is ensuring that all the administrative tasks are covered in ensuring that the home is run in an efficient manner – that all the activities and even procedural needs that stem from the kind of care we provide, are attended to and every detail is paid attention to.

Natasha holds an NVQ qualification in Business Administration which is a great help in the work she does. Her favourite part of working for RPC and particularly in the Boughton Green Rd Home is in how varied her role is and that she is fortunate to work with lovely co-workers and Service Users – day in and day out.

When her four year old daughter allows her any spare time Natasha enjoys relaxing with a good book and a cosy glass wine, or socialising with friends! Otherwise she enjoys family activities with her husband and daughter (including many a week-end in Hereford, spending time with some close friends.)

If you would like to learn more about our Boughton Green Rd home or chat to one of our Admissions and Referrals Team about a tour – please contact Sian, Diane, Bill or Louise on 01604 791 266.

MacMillan Tea Party – Cash Raised, Cakes Devoured

At the end of September we hosted a Tea Party in aid of MacMillan Cancer Research at our Boughton Green Rd Home. Our team were very busy in the week leading up to the party – creating certificates, and staff and Service Users baking lots of delicious and beautiful cakes to sell. (Afterall…the prettiest ones will sell!)

We invited Service Users and staff from our other Homes (who also brought homemade cakes) to come and have tea/coffee with us – we managed to sell loads of cakes and we raised a whopping £152.00 which we were very pleased with!

During the morning we also presented two of our Services Users with the college certificates that they had recently achieved through some short courses they had been doing at Moulton College.

We all had a great deal of fun on the day and it was wonderful getting everyone together, having a chat, and enjoying this event (especially for such a good cause).

The Service Users had a blast making the cakes, selling them and of course eating them! A successful day for sure! To round off the day, certificates were presented to all who attended and also special certificates for the best baked cakes.

Admissions And Referrals Team Complete ASDAN Training

The Admissions Team attended ASDAN Training in August this year, and wanted to share the experience with you our Blog readers.

As you may know, Richardsons became a centre for ASDAN back in May. ASDAN is a charitable social enterprise with awarding body status which provides programmes and qualifications to accredit skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life.

Our team worked in groups with care staff from all of our Homes to complete sections of the Independent Living Module with a specific Service User in mind so that they could think about how they would complete the record boxes. The “record boxes” are used to reflect: the Service User’s achievements; the level of support they received; and the skills that they used. (These boxes are also then used later on to provide evidence and refer to other sections within the accreditation process.)

The types of activities the Service User may need to evidence in this Independent Living module are things like making breakfast or making a hot drink. The ASDAN programmes are brilliant in that you can simulate an activity like making a hot drink and the person (Service User) could use cool water and perform the task out of the kitchen (at a table for example) so that they still engage and achieve making a drink, but in a way that manages the risk of them being in the kitchen or around hot water. After a simulated task has been completed, our staff can then replace the simulated drink with an actual drink so that effectively the person has made their own drink in a safe way.

ASDAN recognises the level of support that people need to complete an activity which is very helpful when trying to reflect the level of skill which the Service User can achieve.

To the Admissions Team (Sian, Louise, Bill and Diane) ASDAN means that they can speak plausibly to people about specific ways in which a potential Service User could engage with the ASDAN activities. It also means that we can actively promote ASDAN as an essential part of an activity schedule within our Homes. As a team…we are also able to support a particular Service User in a particular situation with their activities, because we have also been trained alongside with the care staff in the Homes. (We are all based at The Mews, so we engage with Service Users daily.)

What we love about ASDAN is that it demonstrates that intensive residential care services can still promote and support people to maintain, gain and regain independent living skills in the most tailored and person-centred way. This fits in nicely with our ethos of person-centred care.

Louise Pittam, the Admissions and Referral Team manager (right) says that “It has made us aware that there is always something a Service User CAN do, through task simulation. Everyone should have this opportunity.”

If you would like to find out more about our person-centred care, or indeed about the ASDAN programmes we run, please feel free to give us a call on 01604 791 266. ASDAN are also on Twitter if you would like to follow them there.

Sian Gets Involved in Delivering Our Service – First Hand

Sian_Richardson_0122Sian Richardson (a member of our Admissions and Referrals team) did an evening 5 hour shift working at The Mews for her own personal development and brain injury awareness. We thought we would share her experience with you, so you can gain some insight into how our staff (from across the organisation) get involved in the support and care we provide for our Service Users.

She was supervised by senior professionals and did everything apart from Personal Care. Her first task was to take everyone’s orders for supper which, after Sunday lunch, is fresh rolls and sides.

Sian can prepare food for our Service Users because she has had the Food Hygiene Awareness training (for the purposes of the Health and Social Care Act 2008). All staff receive this training. As a result, she prepared all the food and drink for the table and sat with the Service Users to support those that needed assistance.

Sian has been trained to assist people with eating a meal as well as in how to support a particular person (depending on their needs) with eating. This kind of assistance involves prompting the person to take their time with each bite and prompting swallowing in between and making sure the speed of eating is safe. After the meal, Sian collected orders for hot drinks to finish off the meal.

Most people moved on into the living room after dinner for whatever their chosen activity was for the evening. We have a variety of activities which our Service Users can choose to do in the evenings to enjoy each other’s company or to have some alone time.

But, Sian’s shift wasn’t over then…not by a long shot! While people watched TV she cleared and cleaned the dining room and kitchen and cleared the laundry. Later on in the evening, Sian took a tea break with everyone and made another round of evening drinks.

The last task was winding down before the end of the shift and sharing fashion magazines, crosswords or chatting with the Service Users. The night shift staff arrived for 10pm and Sian hung her “hat” up for the night and went home.

“I really enjoyed spending time with the Service Users and staff on shift. I found it beneficial in providing me with a unique insight into how our service works; the level of input and value of the staff; and in getting to know the people using our services. This gives me an even better realm of understanding and identifying needs of new prospective Service Users.” – Sian

Staff Profile – Jacky Johnson

This is part of a series of blog posts which we have created to introduce you to our team of professionals who make up the backbone of our organisation. The posts feature staff across the whole business: in the homes, referrals and admissions, multi-disciplinary therapies, maintenance, etc. They are written as a relaxed conversation, so you can get to know the “people” in our team.
 Jacky Johnson | Homes Manager, Richardson Partnership for Care
Jacky Johnson is our Homes Manager at Boughton Green Rd and she has been with us since February 2011. Much like our other Homes Managers Jacky has a wide area of accountability when it comes to managing the staff, premises and of course overseeing the care of our Service Users. Her biggest responsibility is ensuring the well being of the Service Users and making sure that the required level of care is provided to meet the individual needs of each Service User.

As part of her role as a Manager, Jacky is tasked with promoting and maintaining an environment that secures the health, wellbeing, welfare, safety and security of the staff and Service Users in her care.  There are of course operational, regulatory and financial elements to Jacky’s role – which include implementing and maintaining Operational Policies and Procedures; managing a Home budget; as well as complying with the Health and Social Care Act (and other relevant legislation). Each Home Manager networks with the local business community and social community interest groups to engage the surrounding businesses and interested local residents in the work that Richardson does – and Jacky really enjoys this part of her role.

Jacky holds a Diploma in Social Work (Dip SW) and in Brain Injury Awarenss (Module) and is hard pressed to pick one thing out of her work at RPC that she enjoys the most. She takes great pleasure in managing her staff; working with the Service Users; dealing with families and of course the business element to the role (relating to local businesses and professional organisations) which helps to bolster our relationships within the community.

In her spare time Jacky likes to stay fit and in shape by going to gym, and of course enjoys socialising with close friends and family.

If you would like to chat to Jacky about her role, ask about a tour of our Boughton Green Rd Home or wish to find out more about what we do at Richardsons, please contact her on 01604 791 266 or jacky.johnson@careresidential.co.uk. If you work in our industry and are interested in connecting with Jacky, you can find her on LinkedIn.

Staff Profile – Diane Baker

This is part of a series of blog posts which we have created to introduce you to our team of professionals who make up the backbone of our organisation. The posts feature staff across the whole business: in the homes, referrals and admissions, multi-disciplinary therapies, maintenance, etc. They are written as a relaxed conversation, so you can get to know the people in our team.


Diane Baker is one of our Admissions and Referrals Co-Ordinators (based at The Mews), and has been with us since Dec 2010.  Diane’s role includes liasing with families and professional bodies  to promote our businesss and enhance our relationships with prospective families and partners. Her biggest focus is in ensuring that she helps to facilitate the best opportunities for the potential Service user (referral). Another of Diane’s responsibilities – along with the rest of the Admisssions and referrals team is to maintain our existing relationships with local businesses and stakeholders, as well as identify and nurture new ones – within our targeted area of care specialism (adults with brain injuries and/or learning difficulties).

Diane is not short of training and enhancing skills herself frequently! She has completed courses in a number of different subject areas including:

  • Basic life support
  • Food Hygience
  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS)
  • Epilepsy care
  • Learning Difficulties and Challenging Behaviour
  • Behaviourial management
  • Infection control
  • Crisis Prevention

Her favourite part of working for RPC is getting to meet the families and the professionals who are looking to refer a Service User to us. She likes discussing what we do, while knowing full well what a dedictaed team we have in our homes and how each of them are genuinely interested in helping to work towards the Service User’s individual aspirations and independent development. Her most satisfiying work moments are those where she sees a Service User (who she has helped placed) achieve and progress – no matter how small the milestone or step.

A fond memory that Diane likes to relate to friends and family (and anyone who will listen) is a good giggle of a game of charades played by Service Users and staff alike during the celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee. She remembers one particular Service User who was the master of the game and mimed Eastenders (the British TV Soap)…with some censoring! It brought the house down…literally. A good laugh and a great time had by all.

To relax Diane likes to jump into the creative side of things – she enjoys music, dancing, singing, sketching and painting.

If you would like to chat to Diance about her role, or would like a tour of any of our facilities please contact her on 01604 791 266 or diane.baker@careresidential.co.uk. If you work in our industry and are interested in connecting with Diance, you can find her on Linkedin here.