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Q&A with Claire Appleton, Head of Service, Calvert Reconnections

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Calvert Reconnections was a proud exhibitor at last week’s BABICM conference.  

Claire Appleton, Head of Service at Reconnections, attended the event and discussed a range of ABI rehab topics with case managers, solicitors and healthcare professionals.

In this interview, Claire discusses Reconnections’ progress over the last four years.

How does Calvert Reconnections approach ABI rehabilitation?

Calvert Reconnections delivers a ground-breaking, clinically-led approach to ABI rehabilitation, combining cognitive and physical rehab with vocational and outdoor activities.

Our highly skilled clinical team has over 100 years’ combined experience and includes Neuro Occupational Therapists, Neuro Physiotherapists, Neuro Speech and Language Therapists, Neuro Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners and Rehabilitation Coaches.

We tailor our programmes around the individual needs of our participants, working closely with them to establish their goals and develop a personalised rehabilitation plan that helps achieve them.

What sets you apart from other ABI rehab units?

While our rehab model is unique, it is the quality and strength in depth of our clinical team that lead independent living trials with vocational rehab. 

Due to being part of the Calvert Trust charity we can offer unique vocational placements from various local business set in The Lake District.  

On average, how long do participants stay at Reconnections for?

Three to six months.

How many participants can you take at any one time?

Our residential centre has nine bedrooms while we also have two independent living flats. 

How does Calvert Reconnections fit in to the wider Calvert brand?

While other Calvert centres offer short breaks and holidays, we are a clinically-led ABI rehab unit for adults (17 years +).

Reconnections was a new venture for the Lake District Calvert Trust back in 2020 but we have worked tirelessly over the last four years to be recognised as a leading, specialist clinically-led ABI rehab unit.

From day one we’ve done things differently, bringing together the very best in person-centred care delivered in a homely environment that inspires and supports people to become the best they can be. 

We have also continued to strengthen our clinical team.

Can you support families to stay or visit?

Yes, family engagement in rehabilitation can improve participant outcomes. 

Families are always welcome and we are happy to arrange accommodation (Calvert Lakes is just three miles away and overlooks Bassenthwaite Lake).

Are you considering opening Calvert Reconnections at other locations?

While it is not an immediate priority we are committing to growing our service.

Do you take on anyone who doesn’t have an ABI?

We recognise that our rehab model can support other injuries but at present we are solely focused on ABI rehabilitation. 

What clinical disciplines do you have?

We have outstanding clinical team with over 100 years’ combined experience. 

Our team includes Neuro Occupational Therapists, Neuro Physiotherapists, Neuro Speech and Language Therapists, Neuro Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners and Rehabilitation Coaches.

How do you generate referrals?

We generate referrals from a wide range of sources – case managers, solicitors, insurers and health professionals in the private sector and NHS commissioners and clinical leads in the public sector. 

We also take self-referrals and referrals from families. 

What is your referral process?

Initially we advise contacting the service to speak to our Head of Service or Registered Manager. 

Each participant undergoes a thorough referral and admission process led by our clinical team which takes into consideration their physical, mental and emotional strengths.  

What activities do you offer?

Rehab activities range from reflective pursuits to higher adventure endeavours all closely assessed and graded by our clinical team to a person’s interests and functional abilities.

All the skills developed through these engaging programmes transition through into an integrated rehabilitation plan for daily living skills, greater life skills and, when appropriate, independent living trials. 

How do you help participants transition to independent living?

Over the last 12 months, 80 per cent of participants who identified independent living as a goal went on to achieve it.  

The majority of participants also progressed on to paid employment, vocational training, volunteering or community activity.

Activities of daily life can be built, managed and developed throughout a participant’s stay. 

We also have two independent living flats to help with this process.

Do you measure outcomes?

Yes.  Every year we publish our clinical outcomes review.

Do you offer aquatic therapy?

Yes, our aquatic therapy programme is led by a highly specialised Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (ATACP) Foundation trained physiotherapist with neurological specialism.

We deliver personalised one-to-one programmes to help participants achieve their rehab goals at our aquatic therapy facility which includes an underwater, self-propelled treadmill.

Are you Care Quality Commission (CQC) accredited?

Yes.  We received a Good rating from the CQC following our first inspection last year.

The CQC report praised Reconnections for being “consistently managed and well-led”.   

It said the centre promotes “high-quality, person-centred care” and is “open, inclusive and empowering”.  

It further added that people are “supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives” in order to “gain independence”.

Other highlights include Reconnections being recognised for its “knowledgeable and skilled staff team”.    

The centre’s caring approach is also highlighted with the CQC report noting that staff are “committed to improving people’s independence and supporting them to engage with the full range of activities on offer at the service”.  

Can case managers, solicitors and other brain injury professionals visit Calvert Reconnections?

Absolutely. We hold regular experience days and we are also happy to arrange bespoke visits to the centre.  

For further details on Calvert Reconnections please contact Claire Appleton directly – ClaireA@calvertreconnections.org.uk

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