Richardson Care, a specialist provider of residential rehab services in Northampton, is a finalist in the NR Times Innovation in Neuro Rehab Award 2023. Laura Richardson-Cheater, director at Richardson Care, talks about how innovation has always been at the heart of service provision at the company
Laura says: “We have six specialist care homes: three for adults with acquired brain injury and three for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs. The business has evolved a lot since it was started by my parents in our family home in 1989.
“We have always been ahead of our time in providing a person-centred approach to care and rehabilitation because our first residents, who had learning disabilities, were treated like members of the family. And some of them are still in our care now.
“We had to be innovative in the early days, due to a lack of resources. As we’re still a family-owned and run business, we have the freedom to think outside the box to enable service users to fulfil their potential. Innovation is in our DNA.
The Innovation in Neuro Rehab award looked for providers who embrace innovation to give new hope to secure beyond-expectation outcomes in neuro-rehab. The judges were also looking for providers who help to create examples of best practice that can be followed by the wider sector.
Laura continues: “We’re delighted to be finalists in the NR Times Awards and to receive recognition for our services. It’s testament to the work of the whole care team and the outcomes that we have helped our service users to achieve.”
Innovation in psychology provision
Richardson Care’s core principles of enabling service users to engage in meaningful activities and be part of a community contribute to its aim of using psychological therapies and interventions to reduce the reliance on drug therapies.
The psychology team at Richardson Care is led by consultant clinical neuropsychologist Dr Pedro Grilo who is supported by four assistant psychologists – an unusually-large team to support up to 78 service users. The psychologists are based in offices at each home and have an ‘open-door’ policy, so in addition to their scheduled sessions, service users can access support whenever they need it.
Richardson Care offers a wide range of psychological therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, EMDR, DBT, psychoeducation. relaxation sessions, positive behaviour support, drug and alcohol misuse work and computer-assisted cognitive rehabilitation therapy.
Computer-assisted cognitive rehabilitation therapy
In 2020, Richardson Care was one of the first organisations in the UK to use RehaCom® computer-assisted rehabilitation technology. Although it has become the leading technology of its kind in Europe, it is used by very few companies in the UK.
This tool assists in the rehabilitation of cognitive difficulties that affect specific aspects of cognitive function: for example attention, concentration, memory, perception and other daily-living activities. This means that specific difficulties can be identified then targeted and specifically trained.
The system is auto adaptive, meaning the activity will get harder or easier depending on the performance of the person. This enables them to progress steadily, and reduces frustration if they are finding some tasks difficult.
Lynda’s story of cognitive rehabilitation
Lynda suffered a hypoxic brain injury in 2010 and was in a coma for three months. She was admitted to Richardson Care in December 2014. She needed frequent prompting and encouragement with all aspects of daily living, such as personal care. She was also wheelchair-bound and had been told that it was unlikely she would be able to walk again.
Lynda started using RehaCom® in 2021 and since then has recalled previously-lost childhood memories as well as improving her short-term memory. Her attention, concentration and other cognitive skills, including mental maths, have also made significant improvements.
Improvements in all of these skills have had a positive impact on Lynda’s well-being. For example, something like remembering where she’s put her mobile phone can make her life a lot easier.
The holistic approach by the whole multi-disciplinary team has enabled Lynda to transform her life. She is physically independent and walks well unaided. She enjoys swimming, going to bingo, shopping and out to cafes. She has a part-time admin job at Richardson Care, where she arrives on time and completes her duties with enthusiasm. She has learnt to manage her emotions, develop confidence and resilience.
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