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Inpatient rehab

Recovery College grows support for mental health patients



The offering for service users at a Recovery College is being expanded after a successful first year in operation. 

Heatherwood Court, a low security hospital offering treatment and rehabilitation for men and women on a forensic mental health pathway, launched its Recovery College in 2020.

The Recovery College offers service users a broad range of courses encouraging them to develop new skills to aid them in their recovery and to help with their return to the community. The college is co-managed by service users themselves, giving them an active role to play in its production and delivery, putting them at the heart of its success.

Becoming firmly established within its first 12 months, the team at Heatherwood Court – located near Cardiff and owned and managed by specialist healthcare provider, Ludlow Street Healthcare – have now developed a new prospectus with a wider course offering to reflect the requirements of service users.

Skills tutor Jenna Bayliss said: “Courses like English and maths have been really popular since the start because of their links to employability. We have had service users come to us unable to read or write and they leave able to do both. As well as being hugely rewarding for us as educators, this is invaluable to service users as they start to think about entering the job market.

“Of course, not everyone wants to focus on the educational side of things and the beauty of the Recovery College is that it is entirely catered to the individual, tapping into what people do want to know and what they think will be beneficial to their own future.

“Despite the restrictions of lockdown we were really pleased that almost half of service users attended the accredited education courses over the last 12 months.”

Service user Suz Yates was one of the original members of the Recovery College and now helps to run it. Suz believes that the key to the College’s success is the fact that it breaks down the boundaries between service users and staff, removing the ‘us and them’ culture and improves the self-esteem and confidence of the service users.

Suz said: “When they are hospitalised, service users often feel that they are de-skilled, de-personalised, separated from their usual support networks and find they can’t use their usual coping strategies.  On top of that, policies and procedures in a standard hospital environment create an ‘us and them’ culture. The Recovery College helps dismantle these barriers.

“When I arrived at Heatherwood and discovered that a Recovery College was being set-up I was eager to play a role in its development as I was part of a Recovery College in my local community previously. It made a huge difference to my life; from personal knowledge I saw how it helped me gain self-confidence and increase my self-management skills.

“Without the divide between ‘staff’ and ‘patient’ I feel accepted and recognised as having intrinsic value to offer; an ‘expert by experience’.”

Royston Scott, Recovery College lead, said: “Now that the Recovery College is well established, we have a clearer idea of what service users find beneficial and what they want to see more of. We deliberately offer taster sessions that help people decide what will help them on their own journeys and this helps shape the prospectus too.

“We are so proud of the Recovery College team and the work they have undertaken to make the College such a success, they do a phenomenal job.”


Inpatient rehab

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.

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Inpatient rehab

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.”