I visited 12 services last week and was particularly pleased to see person centred active support (PCAS) in action when I visited Birdhurst Rise in Croydon. PCAS is a way of working with people where staff do things with, not for, people we support. This can include participating in daily activities, like cooking, shopping, washing and cleaning. Where people are more disabled, staff may need to support them with a significant part of the task, including for example, providing hand over hand support. This is what I observed at Birdhurst Rise. PCAS is embedded in quite a few CMG services, but not everywhere. I would like to give it a real push this year and will make a point of checking whether it is happening when I visit services. I will also be checking on weeds as we get into the summer months. I was slightly disappointed to visit a service that I have always praised for the high standards of care of its front garden, to find some weeds on the drive (I won’t say where, but I do know staff addressed the issue promptly when I pointed it out).
I was also pleased to hear about how one of the tenants at our Lewes Road service in Eastbourne is a volunteer Guide Leader with the local Girl Guides group. This is a really good example of social inclusion. One of the most important things for me is that the people we support are engaged in meaningful activities and have a chance to be an active part of their local community. I am concerned that it is possible to get a ‘good’ rating from CQC, by ticking various boxes, even if the people living in the service have a pretty dull and uninspiring life. I do think quality of life and engagement of activity needs to have a stronger focus from CQC, as well as checking whether supervisions are taking place, staff training is up to date etc.
On Saturday morning, I went to see CMG’s Brelade Players in action. They are an absolutely fantastic dance and drama group in Brighton and they did a brilliant routine of songs and dances as part of a fund raising event. Every time I see them, they get better and better.
I was also delighted to hear that The Brelade Players responded to a request from Strictly Come Dancing for short films of people dancing and theirs was selected to be shown on television. This is a great achievement!