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.


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.

Day Out – The London Dungeons

We are constantly searching for new activities, day trips or experiences for our Service Users in order to aid their rehabilitation. Here is an example of one such day where two of our Service Users chose what they would like to do in London for the day.

They caught the train to London and worked out which underground line they needed to get to the Dungeons. They had a lovely lunch at a pub nearby and after planning what they would like to do, they made their way to the Dungeons (following a tourist map). The Service Users relayed back to us that they had great fun in the Dungeons and had a good giggle at the skeletons in the dark alleys and on the boat ride. They enjoyed seeing different genres of “spooky” including Sweeny Todd; Judges; and the Fire of London…to name a few.  They had just enough time to grab the proverbial touristy shot (see below), buy a take-away and hop back on the train to Northampton.

There are great benefits to Service Users taking part in choosing activities they would like to do, plan their day including travel events and holidays.  Some of our Service Users prefer to go on outings on a one-to-one basis whereas others prefer group outings and holidays.  The experience not only gives them choices but enables them to make decisions in all aspects of their lives promoting their independence  which also gives the opportunity of flexing the skills of planning and making journeys…being aware of locations; the value of money; as well as safety and social skills interaction  when out in the community.  All of this means that from a rehabilitation perspective, the Service User is being able to make decisions  promoting their independence to plan forward and achieve goals.

A big thank you to Wendy Coleman (Homes Manager at Duston Rd) for sharing this lovely day out with us, in order that we can provide you, our readers, with some insights into the valuable breadth of our rehabilitation efforts for our Service Users.

Staff Profile – Wendy Coleman

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.



Wendy Coleman

Wendy Coleman, nominated for the Manager of the Year Award

Wendy Coleman is our Homes Manager at Duston Rd and she has been with us since September 2011.  As a Homes Manager Wendy 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, Wendy is tasked with promoting a caring environment through high standards of professional practice and through managing, supporting and training her team.  There are of course operational, regulatory and financial elements to Wendy’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 Wendy is no different.

As do many of our staff – Wendy has a list of qualifications that give her a well rounded professional platform which supports her natural passion for the work she does. She holds the following qualifications:

  • NVQ Level 4 Registered Managers Award
  • NVQ Level 4 Care Award
  • Assessor Award
  • Internal Verifier Award
  • PTTLS Award

..and she is busy working toward her NVQ Level 5 in Strategic Management.

When asked what her favourite part of her role is at RPC – she says that she loves making a difference and being in a position to ensure that standards are kept at the highest level to promote and secure the best possible care for the service users in her Home. She also enjoys leading and supporting her team of staff to feel confident , skilled and empowered in their roles.

In her spare time Wendy enjoys spending time with family and friends. She loves travelling, and going out for lovely meals. Her husband plays in a band – so a lot of socialising happens on the week-ends!

If you would like to chat to Wendy about her role, ask about a tour of our Duston Rd Home or wish to find out more about what we do at Richardsons, please contact her on 01604 791 266 or If you work in our industry and are interested in connecting with Wendy, you can find her on Linkedin here.