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.
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!
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.