RUNNER UP *Marion Cornick Award for Innovative Practice*
This team is recognised for the hard work, determination and commitment that was shown during a challenging 2 years of supporting a gentleman in their care. The gentleman had many previous failed community placements and hospital admissions & before his placement to Insight Teynham, he was living in a block of flats on his own and staff were not entering his flat due to the level of aggression he was exhibiting.
This behaviour continued whilst living at Insight, however the staff team remained committed, resilient and understanding to help him get through this difficult period and restored compassion and support into his life. It is also important to highlight that the team also experienced challenges around getting professionals on board and faced real external pressures – despite all of this the team remained focussed & motivated to make a difference to this gentleman’s care and ultimately, his life.
The team were faced with impossible tasks on a minute to minute basis due to the person’s unpredictable behaviour and moods. They had to constantly think about their communication and interaction and how to help this person the best way possible for the day ahead. It led to some of the most innovative practice I have ever witnessed as a practitioner.
The team took their time to understand and really listen to what was being communicated rather than focusing on the words or language. They sought to gauge a deeper understanding of what the person was communicating and how he was experiencing the world around him. Given the range and frequency of risky behaviour exhibited mostly towards staff, the level of empathy they maintained was astounding.
Use of “the whole approach” goes some way to describe the theoretical aspect of the work this team completed, supported by their PBS trained manager. I feel that they went furtherthan the whole approach and were able to draw on their lived and human experience to complement the PBS approach. This meant they were able to use their relationships and rapport to inform the support provided at all junctures and navigate their way through what were the most challenging times I have ever witnessed in this area of care.
As a result of this teams incredible work, this gentleman went from being locked away in hospitals and community placements, to fulfilling some of his short term life aspirations. Because of this team, he was able to visit his family at restaurants from his childhood memories and go to the pub to play pool & darts with his favourite people which were the most important things to him. The gentleman’s health rapidly deteriorated around 2 years after he had moved to Insight and ultimately, he was placed on a palliative care route. Without such facilities available to care for his health needs whilst meeting the exceptional social needs that he continued to require, the staff team were faced with yet another impossible task: provide palliative care at home to a person that was still presenting with extraordinary levels of risky behaviour. This team once again, rose to the challenge to support this gentleman to have a life with compassion and real support. From the Manager to the support staff, they showed a willingness and desire to treat this person to the best of their ability to the very end. They did this with limited training and without any experience or expertise in the area of end-of-life care.
It seems unattainable to describe and explain the sheer fantastic effort and work the team put in to provide the person with a safe and secure environment in which to spend the last years of his life. The undeniable level of empathy, sympathy and compassion far outweighed anything I have ever seen or witnessed before in social care.