Supported home visits are an important part of the care plan of many of the service users in our homes who have learning disabilities or an acquired brain injury.
We feel that, wherever possible and appropriate, home visits supported by our care staff should be an integral part of the care and support package that we provide at The Richardson Partnership for Care. This is for a number of reasons:
- Home visits help to maintain important family relationships, increasing the involvement that the service user has with their family and friends
- They help to maintain important cultural links
- They often take place around special occasions such as birthdays, and can be combined with a short holiday, providing valuable experiences for the service user and are often eagerly anticipated
- For people with acquired brain injuries experiencing short-term memory loss, home visits can provide a focus for orientation, as well as being part of our practice of ‘normalisation’ – enabling service users to live as close to a normal life as possible and perhaps to enjoy some of the things or places that they enjoyed before their brain injury
- Without the support of care workers for both the service user and their family, many home visits would not be possible.
There are many benefits for the family members too:
- Sometimes more family members are able to see the service user and they can all take part in a family event
- Some families are unable to travel together to Northampton, so this is the only way that they can all see their loved one
- Some families would find it very difficult to cope with a visit without the help and support of care staff
Home visits and the level of support vary according to needs of the service user and their families. For example, some staff accompany service users for long distances (or overseas) and care for them during their stay. In other situations, service users are accompanied by support staff until they reach their destination, or they are collected by their families. It depends on the individual circumstances.
Whatever the type of visit, careful planning ensures that it runs smoothly. This involves:
- Liaison with the family over the timing of the visit, planned activities/schedule and transport arrangements
- Allocating staff who are well-known and trusted by the service user
- Booking transport for the service user and support workers
- Booking accommodation for staff and providing relief or extra cover if required
- Organising insurance
- Managing the service user’s medication and special dietary requirements
- Planning financial arrangements/spending money and personal belongings
- Helping the family to be prepared for the visit by communicating all of the service user’s requirements
When everything is carefully planned, we find that supported home visits are very successful, greatly benefitting both the service user and their family members.