In the fields of brain injury rehabilitation, caring for adults with challenging behaviour and caring for adults with learning disabilities, a ‘one size fits all’ approach would consistently fail. In all walks of life we are all individuals with different personalities, characteristics and preferences. When an acquired brain injury or learning disability is added to the mix, then catering for individual needs is more important than ever. But what does that mean in practice?
At The Richardson Partnership for Care we have a multi-disciplinary team of therapists who are all involved with each individual’s care to a greater or lesser extent, depending on their needs. This multi-disciplinary team comprises a consultant neuropsychiatrist, psychologist, assistant psychologists, home manager, service manager, physiotherapist, speech & language therapist and occupational therapist. The multi-disciplinary team meets regularly to review and discuss the care package that is put together for each individual. We aim to deliver the most effective care while reducing the administrative burden by providing an inclusive care package. This means that funding is agreed at the outset and we don’t have to put in extra requests for additional ad hoc support.
Each service user also has a dedicated key worker who gets to know them and who provides valuable continuity in their care. This key worker, along with other activity support workers, helps to deliver some of the therapy advised by the multi-disciplinary team.
Person-centred care can also mean thinking outside the box to deliver the right type of therapy and activities to encourage confidence building, for example, or physical dexterity. These activities may include arts and crafts, music, drama, sport, computer games, board games, cooking, shopping or gardening.
We have found that ongoing clinical psychology provision is crucial for the well-being and progress of service users, whether they have an acquired brain injury or learning disabilities. It helps to maintain their mental health and any problems can be addressed early, helping to prevent the need for crisis care. We have also found that reducing drug therapy and focussing on psychosocial approaches can result in better outcomes for service users in the longer term.
Below is a testimonial from the carers of one of our service users about how our person-centred approach has helped their nephew. It was written after they visited him in December 2016.
“Pat and I visited John yesterday and we were greeted by a very calm and cheerful young man. We both know how much work this takes and we are very grateful for this. We are so grateful for your tremendous work and commitment over the years to him, and we also know how much you care for him. More importantly he knows how much you all care and love him in spite of his incessant verbalising. We are very proud of our nephew and we are extremely grateful for your expert work in moving away from drug therapy to modifying his behaviour through psychosocial approaches. John is a much healthier man because of your imaginative and professional strategies you use to manage his behaviour and we thank you for this.”
This diagram shows the support team that delivers the care plan for each individual service user.