Life Opportunities Trust

Active Support Newsletter

The staff team within Hitchin Road enjoyed the training day – they felt that the training initially was very much pitched at getting service users to achieve making their own cups of tea or toast and staff questioned that due to the capabilities of some of Hitchin Road’s service users and levels of dementia experienced by some ‘goals’ such as these would never be achieved. 

Therefore, the staff required their thinking to be more understanding and appreciative around the concept of involving the service users in the preparation of the vegetables for lunch by being in the kitchen with staff either sat in a chair or in their wheelchair and that the holding of a potato would be involving them and encouraging self-esteem and self-pride. There is a noticeable involvement of the service users in meal preparation and making of cakes within the kitchen, also, the weekly cleaning of their bedrooms – the service users are now always present and included in this process.

At the service users’ meeting it was explained to them the training that the staff team had completed and how we were going forward in supporting them to be included in the activities carried out within the Home. One of the service users required support from staff to encourage his thinking around tasks such as ‘hoovering’ the areas of the home or the ‘tidying and cleaning of his bedroom’, that these tasks are not for staff to carry out because we are paid to do it/it is our job but to encourage him to have pride in his surroundings and gain a sense of self-esteem in a ‘job’ well done, gaining confidence in his capabilities.


Therefore, he now has an understanding that he is not being ‘made’ to do the cleaning or someone’s job and will regularly approach staff and ask if he can ‘hoover’ the lounge and is often found to be washing up. His thinking is much more positive in this area and he shows pride in his achievements.  He is always keen to discuss with staff his activities. He is also less confrontational as his confidence self esteem and skills have improved.

Another service user successfully completed an ‘opportunity plan’ and now every week initiates the changing of her bedding and helps remake her bed. She informs staff that she has taken her bed sheets off and placed them in her wash basket ready for washing. She exudes pride in the communicating of this to staff and it has given her a sense of achievement in a task being carried out by her.

We are continuing to use the organisation and participation tool that we produced following the training. The ‘Handover and Activity Support Plan’ daily sheet is used at the beginning of each shift identifying to the staff planning the shift what tasks/appointments are scheduled and what each service user is doing at that time which gives an awareness of where service users can be included in what is happening or who is available to take part in an activity. This has led to an increase in the service users accessing the community on shopping trips as the shifts are well planned and therefore more organised.

It is felt that the team here at Hitchin Road benefitted from the initial day of training, which in turn has had an impact on the service users daily lives in a positive manner.

Michelle Theobold

Life Opportunities Trust