Guest blog from Tracy Connelly, Area Manager – Yorkshire & Teesside, Real Life Options
Anyone who knows me is aware of my passion for Active Support so when I was invited to write a blog on the subject, was delighted to oblige as a means of spreading the word. I’m indebted to ARC for introducing me to Christine Rose, their Lead Active Support Consultant, who shares the same energy and commitment for supporting people to be the very best ‘me’ that they can be.
How did it all begin?
As part of my Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Positive Behavioural Support(PBS), a plan was developed and implemented, that focused on using active support as some of the primary prevention strategies. On seeing the positive outcomes both for the individual supported and the staff team involved, there was no stopping me.
On completion of my qualification and with the full support of Real Life Options, a pilot scheme commenced in January to introduce active support into two services, one with very complex health and physical needs and one supporting four gentleman who display some behaviours of concern. Christine trained the staff teams at both services and we made the conscious decision to include members of Leadership Team in this training, knowing that our passion for this way of working would be contagious!
What difference has it made to the people we support?
The active support training and pilot has had such a positive effect in such a short time. Service Users are gaining more independence, growing in confidence and are engaging/interacting more positively with family members. One person that previously struggled with confidence is now making her own meals, scanning, packing/unpacking and paying for her own shopping alongside various other tasks. And she has a wicked sense of humour that is now shining through.
Family members are encouraged by these changes and have sent comments praising the positive results saying that they can clearly see that their family members are more independent and making an important contribution to their own welfare and day to day living.
Visiting commissioners, social workers and internal quality auditors are equally overwhelmed with the rapid progress in such a short space of time, with one of the services receiving an ‘Outstanding’ rating at a recent internal audit.
What difference has it made to our staff?
One staff member commented that prior to the programme and training, she sometimes felt nervous when supporting certain individuals. She now feels much more confident in how she provides support and more fulfilled in her role.
Staff culture has changed massively from a caring environment to an enabling one. There’s a constant energetic buzz around the services with conversations that start with, “You will never guess what xxxxx did today.”
Pre and post implementation survey data evidences a greater understanding of what being person-centred means with an increase in staff engagement, fulfilment and an improvement in staff retention.
We have seen a reduction in behaviours of concern and evidence from participation logs and opportunity plans identifies how each persons’ skills and levels of engagement are improving. Building on this, we are identifying new areas for development and where we can create further learning opportunities.