Psychology services for adults with complex needs

The psychology team at The Richardson Partnership for Care plays a crucial role in the care and support of our service users, who have complex needs and acquired brain injuries or learning disabilities. Dr Pedro Areias Grilo, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist, heads up the team and is supported by three Assistant Psychologists: Julita Frackowska, Olivia Ferrie and Joseph Szablowski. The Assistant Psychologists are assigned to specific service users according to their needs and the homes in which they live.

Person-centred care
The ethos of the psychology team is the one that runs through the organisation as a whole: the service user is at the centre of everything we do. We are committed to providing individualised care to effectively support the nuanced needs of each service user. We take a person-centred approach and offer interventions to service users based on cognitive behavioural models, dialectical behaviour skills and operant conditioning. All of the interventions offered are evidence-based and follow NICE guidelines.

Psychological reviews
All service users receive an initial psychological review, which includes neuropsychological assessments, a review of clinical presentation, assessment of stability of mood and suggestions for future interventions. This review is then repeated on a regular basis to assess the effectiveness of the therapies and interventions delivered. In addition, we have an ‘open door’ policy at The Richardson Partnership for Care, so all members of the psychology team, and the Assistant Psychologists in particular, can develop close working relationships with the service users. This means that their well-being can be monitored closely on an informal basis and we have found that this helps to maintain their mental health, so any problems can be addressed early, preventing the need for crisis care.

Positive Behaviour Support
Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is a key part of the psychological support that we provide and an emphasis on positivity is one of our main philosophies. PBS Plans are person-centred and designed with input from the service user to promote positive behaviour. They are supported to set their own goals and to achieve them.

In addition, Pedro and the team are working on an innovative Positive Behaviour Tool to more effectively monitor and encourage positive behaviour. This runs alongside the traditional techniques of reducing negative behaviour.

Multi-Disciplinary Team
The psychology team works closely with the other members of the multi-disciplinary team. (This comprises a consultant neuropsychiatrist, homes managers, service manager, physiotherapist, speech & language therapist and occupational therapist.) Pedro and Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Dr Seth Mensah, work closely together to balance the use of drug therapies and psychosocial therapies. Where possible, we aim to focus on psychosocial approaches and gradually reduce the reliance on drug therapy to achieve better outcomes for service users over the longer term.

A diagram explaining the psychology services at The Richardson Partnership for Care
A summary of the psychology services offered at The Richardson Partnership for Care

Our new residential care and rehab home opens

Liam Prior, cuts the ribbon to officially open the brain injury rehab home
Brain injury survivor, and former service user, Liam Prior performs the opening ceremony

After months of hard work, we’re very pleased to announce that our new residential care and rehab home, The Coach House, is finally complete. To celebrate, we welcomed back Liam Prior to perform a ribbon cutting ceremony and officially open the home. Liam was the first person to move into The Mews (our adjacent home for adults with acquired brain injuries) back in December 2010. He has since moved out into his own flat in Northampton but still keeps in touch with the team at The Mews, and often comes back for Christmas dinner. It was great to see him on such good form and to be reminded of his sense of humour!

Greg Richardson-Cheater, Dr Seth Mensah, Jo Throp, Pedro Areias Grilo and Jo Wilkins
From left to right: Greg Richardson-Cheater, Dr Seth Mensah, Jo Throp, Pedro Areias Grilo, Jo Wilkins

We opened the doors of The Coach House to around 40 brain injury professionals, social workers and representatives from the NHS and Clinical Commissioning Groups. They were entertained and informed by presentations by senior members of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) here at The Richardson Partnership for Care including Dr Seth Mensah, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist and Pedro Areias Grilo, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, along with Jo Throp, Neurological Occupational Therapist and Clinical Director at Krysalis Consultancy.

After the presentations, Simon the Saxophonist provided background music while everyone had lunch and the opportunity to look around The Coach House and The Mews, and to meet members of our team.

We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to understand more about what makes us different to other residential care and rehab environments. The physical environment that we provide is high quality, comfortable and homely as well as safe and practical. It’s always been important to us that our homes actually feel like home to the people who live here, and a lot of thought has gone into the details. It is a deliberate policy that the homes do not look like institutional settings and that staff don’t wear uniforms. But this doesn’t mean that we don’t have a clinical approach to support and rehabilitation. We have some high calibre neuro specialists in our team, and we are proud of our unique approach that delivers positive outcomes for our service users.

Accommodation details
• Nine ground-floor bedrooms, plus two on the first floor
• All have ensuite level-access wetrooms, designed to be both stylish and practical
• Two rooms have kitchenette facilities
• Seven rooms have their own patio area
•Three different light settings are available, depending on the needs of the individual – daylight, warm, cool – all with dimmer switches
• TV, wi-fi and the option of satellite TV

Communal rooms
• Kitchen with modern appliances and plenty of storage space
• Modern, spacious dining room
• Light, comfortable lounge area, plus additional seating areas
• Easy access to shared facilities at the Mews
• Latest environmental measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce running costs

In addition, The Coach House has plenty of natural light, high ceilings, spacious bedrooms and living areas, as well as vibrant décor and views of the gardens. These all contribute to enhancing the mood and well-being of service users.

Please call us on 01604 791266 to arrange a visit.

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