The UK’s biggest not-for-profit brain injury service provider is recruiting into roles throughout its therapy offering across the UK, as it looks to increase its neurorehabilitation provision even further to support soaring demand.
The Disabilities Trust is looking to bring in new clinical resource to many of its 13 inpatient centres across England, Scotland and Wales, to help build its offering to patients further.
Under the supervision of new clinical director Dr Rudi Coetzer, a consultant neuropsychologist who joins the Trust after 23 years with the NHS, strategic new appointments are being made across its neuropsychology, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services.
Investment continues to be made in its centres across the UK, with the Trust recently securing planning permission to create a new state-of-the-art brain injury hospital in York, relocating from its current site in the city and retaining 145 healthcare jobs.
The Trust has a stellar reputation for its ability to return patients to the community, with its discharge rate standing at 97 per cent for 2019/20 – including 73 per cent who were discharged to more independent settings – and is keen to build its provision further to continue to deliver the best possible outcomes to patients.
“We want to find the best people who can improve the lives of our service users, we are looking unit by unit to find the right people. We want to invest in the best staff who can deliver the best care to our patients,” says Dr Coetzer.
“There are a limited number of beds but infinite demand, and while bricks and mortar is one thing, it is our staff who are making the difference. Before I joined the Disabilities Trust and was working in the NHS, one of the key reasons I referred patients here was because of its outcome measures, one of the most important being discharge rates. This is achieved by the work of the fantastic team.
“We know there are a finite number of clinicians, but we are keen to find people who want to join us who can help develop us as a Trust, and who we can support and develop in their roles. Staff development is crucial to us and we are committed to giving this development.”
The Trust has a strong neurobehavioural specialism, with an emphasis on the discipline in several of its centres, and Dr Coetzer plans to update its existing model to ensure it is following the very latest in evidence-based practice.
“We will build in the latest research and clinical research and work with colleagues to make sure this is the right model for us now,” says Dr Coetzer, also an Honorary Professor at Bangor University.
“The model was first developed ten or 20 years ago, and while it has been revised over that time and is a great model, as with any treatment, there have been developments and advances. The creation of this updated model makes this a very good time for the right people with energy and enthusiasm to join and grow alongside us.”
During the 40 years it has been in existence, the Trust has become known for its research and the new insight it has helped to share in a host of disciplines, gaining national attention for projects such as its commitment to highlighting the situation around ABI in the criminal justice system.
For Dr Coetzer, research is something he is keen to maximise at the Trust post-pandemic.
“I really want to push the research agenda again. The Trust is widely known for its research, but that has stalled during the pandemic. Through research and the dissemination of research, we can learn how to improve the lives of patients,” he says.
“We also have Bangor University as a research partner, which is an internationally-renowned for its work in neuropsychology and neuroscience, so this will help to rekindle the research the Trust is known for.
“It is an ambition for us to hold some events, perhaps a conference, and get some speakers so we can share this. That is something we would like to do and is one of my goals.”
Chroma expands services in two Voyage Care homes
Music and arts therapies will be used to help support the emotional and psychological wellbeing of residents
Arts therapies provider Chroma has extended its contract with social care and support provider, Voyage Care, to deliver creative arts therapy services at two more of its care homes.
Residents at Devonshire House in Manchester and Cedar Road in the West Midlands will receive music therapy (MT), neurologic music therapy (NMT) and art therapy sessions to support their emotional and psychological wellbeing.
During assessment procedures, additional functional needs were identified in some residents, so NMT techniques are also being incorporated to facilitate opportunities to work towards other goals in joint working with speech and language and physiotherapy.
Devonshire House, in Ardwick, Manchester is a 24-bed specialist brain injury rehabilitation service with three wings. Residents are either active rehab, slower stream rehabilitation or long-term stay. Therapists work with all three residential sectors across the three wings.
Cedar Road is a nine-bed residential care home for slower stream, long-stay residents who receive the support they need to enable them to develop and maintain their independence and cognitive skills following a brain injury.
The creative arts therapists use a range of psychological and psychodynamic techniques to support the expression of memories and emotions in ways that do not rely on words. The forming of a therapeutic relationship is key to enabling and empowering individuals to express their emotions, manage overwhelming feelings and to process traumatic memories, safely.
Both individual and group sessions are used depending on the needs of the people supported.
The creative arts therapists also support individuals to meet functional goals through NMT techniques including Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT), which uses rhythmic speech cueing to encourage speech, Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) to help improve gait or Therapeutic Instrumental Musical Performance (TIMP) to prepare the body for functional movement.
Louise Houghton, ABI placements manager at Voyage Care, said: “Voyage Care is centred on social rehabilitation. The impact of loneliness and poor mental health, for care home residents, has been highlighted throughout the pandemic, which is why we are extremely happy to be able to provide these services within the already well-established multidisciplinary team and look forward to the positive impact we know it will make to our residents and their emotional needs.”
Chroma’s neurologic music therapist Claire Maddocks and art therapist, Jackie McVey, will deliver one-to-one sessions as well as support speech and language and physio therapists.
Claire said: “It’s exciting to have two arts therapy modalities in Voyage Care homes, and being able to incorporate them early on in a new home alongside the multidisciplinary team. It demonstrates the acknowledgement of the importance of arts therapies and the significant role they play in providing emotional and psychological support.”
Jackie said: “It is commonplace, in residential care homes, for long-term residents to experience loneliness to some degree and it’s important we do as much as we can to help reduce such incidences.
“Group therapy has proven itself a great way to promote interaction with others. We have previously delivered group music therapy sessions at Lorenzo Drive to help tackle loneliness, which was a resounding success so I have every confidence this art therapy group will too.”
Alongside one-to-one art therapy sessions, Jackie plans to create group sessions focusing on social interaction and social skills.
Since the arts therapies services began in September 2021, attendance to weekly sessions has remained consistently high, reflecting the positive impact sessions are having upon residents’ lives, both emotionally and psychologically.
Exemplar Health Care opens latest specialist care home
The complex needs care home in Pontefract also has a dedicated neuro-disability unit
Exemplar Health Care, a provider of specialist nursing care for adults living with complex needs, has officially opened its £3.4million state-of-the-art specialist care home in Pontefract.
Bennett Court, based on Ash Grove in South Elmsall, will be Exemplar Health Care’s sixth home in West Yorkshire.
The home supports up to 30 people and specialisea in supporting adults living with complex mental health needs, neuro-disabilities, brain injuries, spinal injuries and complex dementia.
Bennett Court has the expertise and facilities to support some of the most complex and acute individuals, who would often be in a hospital setting if not placed with them, enabling them to stay in the community and reducing hospital and secure facility admission.
Specialist nursing care for adults living with neuro-disabilities
Bennett Court has the facilities to provide specialist nursing care for people living with neuro-disabilities or neurodegenerative disorders.
The home has 30 large bedrooms, each with an en-suite, across three ten-bed units. All three units have the provision for bariatric care.
This small group living provides a homely and supportive environment, which is more responsive to people’s needs.
Lily Unit is a dedicated unit for those living with dementia.
And the home’s Poppy Unit is a male-only environment which supports up to ten adults living with complex health needs and mixed diagnoses, including neuro-disabilities, brain injuries, physical disabilities and those who have tracheostomies, ventilators and PEG feeds.
Being on the ground floor and with garden access rooms, Poppy Unit is ideal for those living with a neuro-disability.
Other facilities at Bennett Court
Bennett Court has communal dining and living spaces as well as a cafe, therapy room, salon and large accessible garden.
The home hosts a restaurant-style dining menu which is developed with service users at quarterly Food Forums.
This ensures that menus are varied, interesting and available to everyone, taking into account personal preferences, condition-specific and religious dietary requirements.
“It is extremely rewarding to be able to support 30 local people with complex health needs”
Speaking about the opening, Helen Lawson, Commissioning Home Director for Bennett Court, said: “I’m thrilled to have opened Exemplar Health Care’s newest home in West Yorkshire.
“This community-based home will provide person-centered care and rehabilitation that focuses on maximising independence, building everyday living skills, and empowering people to live as fulfilled lives as possible.
“It’s extremely rewarding to be able to support 30 local people with complex health needs, and to provide over 150 stable and local jobs for those wanting to be part of a new team where you can make a difference and every day better.”