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

Celebrating The Queen’s Birthday in Style

Last month, we held a garden party at The Mews in honour of HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday. Service users from all of our homes were invited along with their families and all of our staff.

The Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Christopher Malpas, and the Mayoress were also invited. They enjoyed meeting some of our service users with learning disabilities and acquired brain injuries, learning about our services and experiencing what it’s like in our care homes.

The garden and the main hall were decorated with Union Jack bunting and balloons, as well as artworks which had been created by service users in their arts & crafts sessions in preparation for the event.  Fortunately, the weather was kind to us and everyone had a lovely day. There was a wide range of activities for everyone to enjoy including a Punch and Judy show, magician and live music from Martin the Music Man. We even had a cut-out of the Queen so you could be photographed next to her!

We also had a visit from Sarah’s Animal Adventures, where we had the opportunity to get up close and personal and learn about all sorts of amazing animals. And there was an impressive display of birds of prey. We played outdoor games and competitions and held a raffle in aid of Headway Northampton. All in all it was a very successful day and a great opportunity for everyone to catch up and celebrate the occasion.

RPC Garden Party sign and stall

RPC Garden Party

For more photos of the day, have a look at our album on Facebook.

The power of music to improve well-being

Music is a powerful medium and can have a profound effect on emotions. It can create a calming, tranquil environment or drive energy and motivation, depending on the style and tempo.

In addition to weekly music sessions in one of our homes, once a month on a Saturday, Simon Moxham, a professional Saxophonist comes to play at The Mews. Service users from all of our homes are encouraged to come along for a tea party in the main hall and Simon provides the entertainment, playing either his or Alto Sax or his Tenor Sax.  He starts with slower songs, which create an exceptionally calm and relaxed atmosphere when everyone is milling around and having their drinks and snacks. Then he gradually increases the tempo, so by the end service users and staff are clapping, singing, moving to the music in their chairs, or dancing and leaping around!

Simon plays a range of pop music from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, which helps our service users with the acquired brain injuries with reminiscing. But it’s also a chance to celebrate being alive – it’s a really joyous and uplifting atmosphere that is enjoyed by everyone and enhances their well-being.

Watch a video of Simon playing his Alto Sax at The Mews

Simon’s website: www.simonthesax.co.uk

 

Simon Moxhan with his saxophone

Simon Moxham, Saxophonist

Residential care in the heart of the community

There is much debate on whether community-based support is better than ‘institutional care’ but of course, it depends on the individual. It also depends on the type of care and support. One of the best ways to describe our specialist residential care homes is ‘a place that feels like home’. Yes, we deliver effective intensive short-term rehabilitation and long-term rehabilitation for adults with acquired brain injury. We also provide care and support for adults with learning difficulties and behaviour that challenges. And we have a high support worker to service user ratio, but we strive to provide an environment that feels like a home, not an institution. It’s safe, comfortable and homely. Our homes provide companionship, and protect vulnerable people from social isolation, loneliness and hate crime.

Community engagement
We also enable service users to be part of the local community. All of our care homes in Northampton are situated close to local shops and facilities, as well as within easy access to the town centre. For service users who are able to, popping out to the local shops means that they feel part of the local community and ‘normal’, especially when they see people they know. It’s also part of our focus on ‘normalisation’ for service users with an acquired brain injury. Enabling them to live as close to a normal life as possible is an important part of their rehabilitation.

We are fortunate that we have some great local pubs where the staff understand the needs of our service users and are very welcoming and helpful. In December we held a 60th birthday party for a service user at the local pub. Donald enjoyed a lovely meal with his sister, all his fellow service users from his home and members of staff. He’s been living in our care home for over 20 years and it was a really lovely occasion. And the pub staff even sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him!

Donald's birthday cakeCompany ethos
As well as everyday trips to the shops and special occasions, there are also trips to the cinema, sports centres and cafés. They help every service user to become familiar with their local environment and make them feel at home. It’s all part of the ethos of The Richardson Partnership for Care, ensuring that service users are treated with dignity and respect, actively supported to make their own choices and given the opportunity to participate in community activities.

Donald and his sister

Donald with his sister at his birthday party

The Mews awarded 10/10 in Quality Checkers report

Voice Ability is an advocacy service providing independent advocacy for people aged over 18. The organisation supports people who use adult mental health care services with issues about mental health and social care.

Voice Ability also provides a quality checking service for a range of organisations including Northamptonshire County Council, the CQC and NHS Trusts. Their ‘experts by experience’ take part in quality assessments from a service user’s perspective.

Northamptonshire Quality Checkers recently assessed The Mews, one of our homes providing rehabilitation and residential care for adults with acquired brain injuries. Mike, the Quality Checker, had a look around the home and spoke with service users and staff. He said that he was made to feel very welcome, and the service users that he spoke to said that the house was very ‘homely’ and that the food was ‘delish’! They also told him about the activities in which they are involved: one service user does paid admin work at the home and another is starting a college course to study animals.

An area of key importance to Voice Ability is that service users have the freedom to make their own choices and are supported to take informed risks. The brain injury rehabilitation service provided at The Mews, aims to increase the independence of all service users and these elements of decision making are an important part of this rehabilitation process.

Mike also discovered that service users at The Mews have communication passports and hospital passports and that everyone has health action plans in their care plans. He awarded The Mews 10 out of 10 in his report.

We welcome independent assessments from all types of organisation, listening objectively to all feedback from third parties, service users, their families and our staff. We endeavour to continually improve the quality of life for people in our homes and the effectiveness of our rehabilitation services, wherever possible.

Bedroom at The Richardson Partnership for Care

A bedroom at The Mews

144 Boughton Green Road regains Headway Accreditation

No two brain injuries are the same, as no two individuals are the same, so our specialist residential care homes need to cater for people with different needs. Service users may come to us several years after they have sustained a brain injury and after they have already had a period of acute rehabilitation. We continue their rehabilitation, working steadily and patiently with them to help them achieve their goals, recognising that it may take longer for them to reach their maximum potential.

Many of the service users at our home at 144 Boughton Green Road receive slow stream rehabilitation and long-term support. In 2013, the home received Headway Approved Provider status, following an assessment against a range of standards that reflect the specific needs of people with acquired brain injury. In June this year, Headway reassessed 144 Boughton Green Road and the home passed with flying colours. The accreditation has been extended by a further two years, subject to passing unannounced visits from Headway assessors.

Headway Approved Provider logoThe 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).

144 Boughton Green Road received a rating of Good-Excellent in six of the domains, and a rating of Good in the seventh. Well done to all the staff who work very hard to continuously improve the service and support that we provide to our service users. They help them to maintain their existing abilities and to progress towards more independence, and acceptance, in a positive environment. The whole team at 144 Boughton Green Road contributes to providing long-term rehabilitation in a supportive and homely environment.

A living room at 144 Boughton Green Road

One of the living rooms at 144 Boughton Green Road

The Joys and Benefits of the Local Pub

Reports show that in today’s modern world, where people are ‘online and connected’ 24 hours a day, they are less likely to know their neighbours. This can lead to a sense of loss of community, isolation and loneliness.

For people with disabilities, this risk of being isolated from the local community is even greater. At The Richardson Partnership for Care, there is a sense of community within each home and a choice of communal spaces, so services users can choose what to do and who to socialise with. Service users also have their own programme of activities, which is designed to support them in their development, as part of their care plan.

However, sometimes there is nothing quite like going to the local pub for a meal. Routine and familiarity are very important for many of our service users with learning difficulties and they particularly like going to The Cock, in Kingsthorpe, Northampton. It’s a comfortable and friendly place to be and it’s run by Rob and Liz who are always happy and welcoming towards our service users. They have a great rapport with our staff and service users and do what they can to support positive experiences for the individuals in our care.

Rob the manager

Rob, the Manager at The Cock

And it’s not just staff at ‘The Cock’ who are friendly. Many of the regulars also have time for the service users and this supports important social relationships within the community. It really does make their local pub feel like it’s their local too.

Delicious and great value food, whether it’s ‘Cowboy burger and chips’ or ‘curry night’, mean that this a favourite place for many of our service users and it’s frequently requested when we’re discussing social activities. Along with Rob and Liz, we would like to thank Mark the chef and staff members Shan, Beth and Claire who also play an important role in welcoming and supporting our service users when they visit The Cock.

The Cock is on Harborough Road at the Cock Hotel Junction, serves food daily from 12 noon until 7:30pm and is open from 12 noon till 11pm. You can contact Rob and Liz on 01604 715 221 and find out more at https://www.facebook.com/thecock.northampton

The Cock, Kingsthorpe

The Cock, Kingsthorpe – our local pub

Supporting Kettering Multi-Disability Football Club

We recently became involved with the Kettering Multi-Disability Football Club and have sponsored the training tops used by the team. The club was set up in 2013 by Tracey Western as one of her sons has an Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD and there was nowhere he could go and play football.

The club caters for boys and girls over the aged of six. There are two squads – under 16 and 16 plus, so young adults can play too. The teams train every week at Tresham College in Kettering, with around 20 attendees regularly taking part, and compete in tournaments once a month. These are against other multi-disability football clubs from Northampton, Wellingborough, Raunds, Rushden and Corby.

The club provides a warm friendly atmosphere where everyone is accepted straightaway. Anyone over the age of six with a learning disability, physical disability or sensory difficulties is eligible to join. As well as providing fun, physical activity for its members, the club helps them to improve their football skills, fitness and hand/eye co-ordination. It also helps to improve communication, listening and social skills, as well as learning discipline and teamwork. Members can associate with different people and make new friends.

Founder and Organiser, Tracey Western commented: “The football club provides a real sense of community for everyone involved and it’s a place where each member is willingly accepted straightaway. Everyone has some type of disability so it’s really not a problem. It’s very satisfying to see all the benefits that these young people gain from the club and I’ve never had so much respect from children! They really appreciate it.”

Richardson Partnership for Care Maintenance Manager, Dexter Griffin, went along to a tournament recently with some service users from our homes. He presented the training tops to the Kettering team and it was a fun and inclusive event for everyone involved.

Kettering Multi-Disability Football Club requires ongoing support to fund the hire of its training facilities every week, so if you would like to support the team or become a member, please contact Tracey Western via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ketteringmfc

Kettering Multi-disability Football Club in their new training tops

Dexter Griffin from RPC with Kettering Multi-disability Football Club in their new training tops