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

Bowls sessions provide a range of benefits

One of the most popular activities that we arrange in-house for our service users is the weekly bowling sessions that we hold in the main hall at The Mews each Monday.

We are fortunate to have Duggie Mitchell on our team, who is an experienced bowling instructor and has played competitive bowls for 35 years with success at Club, County and National levels. Duggie joined the board of Disability Bowls England in 2016 and continues to be inspired by the achievements of people with disabilities. His experience, skill and enthusiasm for the game as well as his empathy with the service users have contributed to the success of the sessions. Duggie is assisted by Lisa Hutchins, the Administrator at 144 Boughton Green Road, who helps with the organisation and keeps the score.

Bowling adapted to suit the players
The format of the game is Short Mat Bowling, which is very similar to Carpet Bowling. A mat 45 feet long and 6 feet wide is laid out in the main hall with guards at either end to stop the bowls running too far. A jack is placed at one end of the mat and each player uses weighted bowls to try and hit the jack. We have adapted the rules to meet the cognition needs and suit the various abilities of the players. They bowl eight balls each and Lisa records the number of ‘strikes’. People from all of our homes join in and we have a league in which around 20 players take part. One of our service users who is blind has mastered bowling very successfully. Other service users come along to watch and support, and it’s a lively, social occasion with lots of cheering.

Key benefits to individuals
What may just look like a leisure activity is actually an important element of our service users’ care. As well as being very enjoyable, the bowling sessions also help to improve:

Physical strength and dexterity
Co-ordination
Cognition and communication
Motivation and self-esteem
Social Skills

Duggie has been running the sessions for around two years and new players can join in at any time. He has noticed significant improvements in some of the participants and says: “I have seen so much change in many of the group since we started: going from little or no eye contact or verbal communication in the early days to total interaction and response. My partner and I went along to the Christmas party recently and it was lovely to have them recognise us and want us to join them dancing.”

Thank you to Duggie and Lisa for their help and commitment to these sessions. They have contributed to some significant improvement and much enjoyment for our service users.

Duggie Mitchell demonstrating short mat bowls

Duggie Mitchell demonstrating short mat bowls

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.

 

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

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

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

ASDAN achievements recognised

Congratulations to the service users at The Richardson Partnership for Care who were presented with their ASDAN certificates at a special awards ceremony at The Mews.

ASDAN stands for the Award Scheme Development & Accreditation Network. It offers educational programmes and qualifications with flexible ways of accrediting skills for learning, employment and life.

The Richardson Partnership for Care is an ASDAN-accredited centre, which means that we can provide ASDAN programmes in-house for our service users.  They help them to develop skills, achieve accredited qualifications and increase their independence and self-confidence.

ASDAN certificates on mantelpiece

The ASDAN certificates on display on the mantelpiece

Sallie Maris, our Arts & Crafts lady, manages the programme in which around 30 service users with learning difficulties or an acquired brain injury are currently participating. The Independent Living and Creativity modules are our main focus as they help to bring back skills that have been lost as well as providing enjoyment, engagement and a sense of achievement.

Each service user completes a portfolio to show what they have achieved and there are various pass levels: experience recorded, spoken help and no help. These enable progress to be recorded and achievements acknowledged with accredited qualifications.

More information about ASDAN

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

Holidays form important part of brain injury rehabilitation

During the summer, service users with acquired brain injuries went to a range of different holiday destinations including Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Shropshire and Wales, as well as supported home visits to all parts of the UK and further afield.

The choice of holiday destination is a decision made by each service user – we respect each person’s individuality and actively support them in making decisions, with the aim of increasing their autonomy. 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 and helps them in many ways. For example, a holiday is part of our focus on ‘normalisation’, enabling our service users 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.

Novel experiences
Although some of our service users need to keep to a routine, they all enjoyed the opportunity to see and experience new things and especially meeting and chatting to new people. Novel experiences enhance learning and when they are put into a functional context, such as preparing for and taking part in a holiday, they can provide an important source of practice and maintenance for skills.

Short term memory
The holidays also provide a focus for orientation for service users experiencing short term memory loss. For instance, preparing for a holiday and buying new clothes provide cognitive stimulation and enable service users to be excited about going away.

There are benefits to be gained after the holiday too – putting all of the photographs into an album also aids cognitive stimulation and the album provides a novel reference point for discussions about the trip and assists in a service users’ ongoing rehabilitation.

Quality of life
Quality of life is important to everyone and a relaxed and leisurely week by the sea provides some fresh air and a much welcome change of routine. Supported home visits helped service users to reconnect with family members and gave them all a real boost. All of these activities form part of individual rehabilitation programmes to increase skills and independence and to improve service users’ physical and emotional well-being.

The Norfolk Coast

The Norfolk Coast is a favourite holiday destination for some of our service users

Wild Science brings some animal magic to The Mews

Wild Science, a specialist animal education group, brought some inhabitants of their ‘mini zoo’ to The Mews recently, where service users from all of our homes could take part in an ‘animal therapy’ session.

For service users who have mobility difficulties, or for people who would find visiting a real zoo an over-stimulating environment, the session presented an excellent opportunity to learn about some unusual creatures. It was a fun, engaging and fascinating afternoon for everyone who took part, providing close-up interaction with a wide range of different animals. These included a gerbil, a tree frog, a snake and a giant millipede, plus a pygmy hedgehog and a crested gecko, which were two of the most popular animals.

We learnt about all of the animals’ natural habitats and how they live. The Madagascan Cockroach was fascinating: we discovered that cockroaches have been around since the times of the dinosaurs, they can survive being frozen and can hold their breath for 45 minutes!

All of the service users were able to benefit from a new and rewarding experience and the joy of holding or stroking the animals was clearly evident for some people. In addition, simple interactions with animals can be a soothing and relaxing experience.

The ‘animal therapy’ session was part of a range of activities at our specialist residential care homes for adults with learning disabilities or acquired brain injuries. They are designed to provide a fulfilling and inclusive lifestyle and to assist in rehabilitation programmes.

Pygmy hedgehog

A Pygmy Hedgehog

A Madagascan Cockroach

A Madagascan Cockroach