Richardson Care discuss why a holistic approach is key to brain injury rehabilitation and can help create the scaffolding around which people are enabled to rebuild their lives
Dr Pedro Areias Grilo, Clinical Head at Richardson Care, discusses why their holistic approach is crucial to providing rehabilitation and residential care for adults with acquired brain injury
“We bring together different people, with different skills and in different disciplines to benefit the service users. All of the people around the service user, plus the environment that they’re in, create a ‘scaffolding’ that supports them. It enables them to be safe, to enjoy their life and to fulfil their potential.”
The multi-disciplinary team (MDT) of therapists at Richardson Care are all neuro specialists and are led by Pedro, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist. The team includes a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist and consultant psychiatrist along with four assistant psychologists.
Reinforcing the work of the MDT
In addition, activity support workers reinforce the work of the therapists on a daily basis. As well as personal care and medication, they support service users to access the local community for different leisure activities and to develop their daily living skills.
Going to cafes, shopping trips and day trips are not only good for well-being, but they also help the service users to develop their social and communication skills as well as managing money.
Music enrichment, arts & crafts, massage therapy, games and sports provide physical and mental well-being benefits and can also improve mobility, dexterity, co-ordination and speech.
In addition, service users participate in one-to-one and group psychology sessions, go on holiday and home visits with the support of the care teams. All of these activities contribute to the well-being and rehabilitation of service users at Richardson Care.
Consequently, there is a large team of people with many different roles who form the ‘scaffolding’ around the service user to help them to be safe, happy and to achieve their goals.
“Take one of the elements away”, continues Pedro, “and the scaffolding becomes weaker. The service user may relapse, or present with challenging behaviour.”
The MDT works with an experienced team of managers to support up to 78 people in six residential services – a high ratio of therapists to service users. The MDT works together to devise a care plan to meet each individual’s needs, which are diverse and complex.
Silvia Silva, Head of Care at Richardson Care, adds: “The scaffolding isn’t static. In order to provide stability for service users so that they can either increase or maintain their skills and abilities, or avoid relapses, we regularly review their care plans. Working in neuro-rehabilitation is very dynamic – situations can change quickly, so we are always talking to each other about the treatments and therapies that our service users are receiving. We can quickly put together action plans, whether it’s additional psychology, speech and language, physiotherapy or occupational therapy input, reviewing medication, or a combination of these, we can ensure that we meet the needs of the service user. This helps us to avoid crisis situations.”
Taking a multi-disciplinary approach means that it is often easier to find an effective solution. It could be addressing low mood in an individual to help them to engage more in physiotherapy or speech and language therapy, or addressing communication difficulties to enable someone to engage in personal care or occupational therapy. This means that interventions can be made more quickly, which reduces the risk of escalation or presentation of challenging behaviour.
In addition, Richardson Care actively engages with local NHS healthcare professionals, such as GPs or specialist epilepsy or diabetic nurses. This is particularly important when it comes to medicine reviews and enables a holistic approach to each individual’s well-being.
Richardson Care does not limit its expectations, while managing those of its service users and focusing on incremental gains. The team is willing to try different therapies, or activities, with the goal of achieving potential (whatever that potential is) and individual fulfilment. As a result, it has achieved many positive outcomes, which have exceeded the expectations of others.
Jackie Hardisty, Registered Manager of a Learning Disability Service at Richardson Care, concludes: “I think that the structure and organisation at Richardson Care enables us to provide a better service. It’s a holistic approach and the MDT works really well to support the service users. Each member of the team is valued for their own area of expertise and they are on-hand to provide therapies when needed, as well as part of the care plan. Our service users have complex needs so we discuss what we think will work best for them. It’s very individualised care, which puts the service user first. They are always consulted and supported to make their own decisions as much as possible.”
Richardson Care has six specialist residential services in Northampton – three for adults with acquired brain injury and three for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs. It was a finalist in the NR Times Care Provider of the Year Award 2023 and in the Innovation in Brain Injury Rehab Award 2023.
For more information visit www.richardsoncares.co.uk or call 01604 791266 to arrange a visit.
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