Recently I visited Whitehatch, which is a Regard service in Horley. I was particularly impressed with their person centred approaches and people inclusion.
The manager Jane has been at Whitehatch for the last 3 years and before that at the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). When she first arrived the systems and structures in place at the service were dated and the people living there weren’t doing as many activities as they could have been.
At Whitehatch the mobility of each individual varies, as do their ages and ease of verbal communication. Jane has done a fantastic job in encompassing everyone to lead active and fulfilling lives. Each individual who lives at Whitehatch has their own detailed activity programme, each programme is tailored to the individual. The programmes outline what they will be doing each day of the week. Not only community based activities have been introduced but activities that can also be enjoyed at home such as cookery sessions, reflexology, aromatherapy, intensive interaction with ‘Us on the Bus’, exercises with Linda which is an exercise class primarily for people who use wheelchairs and Music with Maddie and Ron which is a firm favourite with everybody. Each person has their own song, which has been written for them specifically and is sung to them each time.
One gentleman can present challenging behaviour, and has recently been going to the gym. Which he really enjoys and has been trying really hard every time he is there. Previously he wouldn’t engage, and it was a struggle to get him to do any activities outside of the house. Now he also goes swimming once a week.
Communication is very important to everyone at Whitehatch, especially with parents who live far away. Skype is a regularly used app in the house hold with regular calls to one parent in Sweden.
What really impressed me at Whitehatch is the innovative training pack that Jane has created to involve and give the relevant skills to the people supported there on safeguarding. The pack contains:
- Easy read document on what safe guarding is
- Dice game – roll the dice discuss the topic on dice e.g discrimination
- Card game – put the card in the right category, safe guarding issue or non-safe guarding issue
- What makes a good friend templates
- Safe guarding buddies – each person at the Whitehatch is linked up with another person to keep an eye on each other. K is buddied up with L who suffers from epilepsy and is unable to speak. K lets staff know when L is up and about and alerts staff if K is having a seizure.
After everyone has completed their training, Jane writes up a report and the training is refreshed regularly.
A development that has come from the safe guarding pack is a path campaign. The path outside Whitehatch has no drop curb, which proves very problematic as most of the people at Whitehatch use a wheelchair to get around. Another issue is that many cars park up onto the pavement leaving little to no room for wheelchairs to pass. These issues were discussed at a residents meeting, and plan was put in place to send a letter to the council and to the local MP. They sent the letter along with signatures from all people living at Whitehatch and photos displaying the issues. The council have now put a fence up to deter people parking on the curb. The head of highways is booked in to see how they can improve the path further.
Sadly, last year one person passed away. S didn’t have any family, so the staff and people at Whitehatch wanted to do as much as possible to give him the send-off he deserved. This was obviously a very difficult time for everyone, Jane created a place in this S’s room where people could come in and write memories about him. His ashes are in the garden with a rose planted on top, Jane managed to find a rose with the same name as S. A bench with a plaque for S has been bought and placed in the garden in memorial. On his anniversary this year everyone at Whitehatch will have memorial tea, he is gone but never forgotten.
Thank you Jane for showing me your lovely service, I think your safe guarding packs could be beneficial for everyone.
Follow the link to find out more about Whitehatch and/or to make a referral https://www.regard.co.uk/services/whitehatch
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