We recently introduced a ‘News and Current Affairs Group’ to two of our care homes for adults with acquired brain injuries. They comprise twice weekly sessions of half an hour each. Originally run by psychologists, support workers have now been trained to run the sessions in which newspaper articles are read and discussed by the group with contributions from all attendees.
The service users are eager to attend and enjoy the sessions . Not only are they enjoyable, however, the sessions form an important part of the rehabilitation process by providing an opportunity to practise skills such as:
• Orientation to time and place
• Communication/ discussion
• Listening to others
• Memory and Reminiscence
• Sharing relevant experiences
• Understanding the world
• Cognitive stimulation
• Creative thinking/ abstract reasoning,
The outcomes of the sessions are evaluated as part of the battery of standardised assessments carried out regularly at The Richardson Partnership for Care. These include aspects of adaptive behaviour (i.e. communication, functional academics, social engagement),mood, self-esteem and communication.
There is a broad research base, supporting the use of functional-based groups like these to develop skills, for example:
• Evans, J. J., Bateman, A., Turner, G., and Green, R. E. A. (2008). Understanding brain injury resources and evidence base. Neuropsychol. Rehabil. Res. Dig. 18. p. 372–384.
• Feeney, T. J., & Capo, M. (2010). Making meaning: The use of Project-based supports for individuals with brain injury. Journal of Behavioural and Neuroscience Research, 8, 70-80.