National Learning Disability Awards – The Woodhouse finalists in five categories

The Woodhouse is named as finalists in FIVE categories at The National Learning Disability & Autism Awards.

Elysium Healthcare are delighted to announce that our team at The Woodhouse, our Learning Disability service in Cheadle, Staffordshire are finalists in five categories at the National Learning Disability & Autism Awards!

The National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards celebrate excellence in the support for people with learning disabilities and aim to recognise those individuals or organisations that excel in providing quality care.

The team at The Woodhouse have shown that they consistently provide high quality care to their Service Users and go above and beyond to ensure their needs are met and are dedicated to making a difference to the lives of the people they support on a daily basis.

Des Loo, Hospital Director at The Woodhouse is immensely proud of his team and the nominations;

“It is my pleasure to work with a dynamic staff group here at the Woodhouse.  This year we have a number of finalists in the National Learning Disability and Autism awards and have nominations in five areas of excellent working practice which is an amazing achievement for not only the staff team at The Woodhouse, but most importantly for the people with learning disability and autism that we support here at the service.”

The Woodhouse team have been named as finalists in the following categories:

Great Autism Practice Award- This award will be presented to a team or individual who demonstrate evidence of good practice in their services and support to people with autism

Finalists: The Therapies Team Lyn Shelton- Psychology, Gemma Clark- Speech & Language Therapy and Heather Clare-Lewis- Occupational Therapy

The therapies team have worked closely with the nursing team at The Woodhouse to provide a trans-disciplinary approach to working with a patient who has severe Autism, moderate Learning Disability, complex behavioural presentations and is non-verbal. The individual lives in an Autism friendly apartment style accommodation within The Woodhouse. Working together the team have completed functional analysis of his behaviour, full sensory assessments and completed work around communication including PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System, PECS travel timelines and a PECS reward system. This work has been combined to inform the patient’s PBS (Positive Behaviour Support) plan; the plan is very clear and supports the patient to maintain routine and take part in regular activities. The implementation of his timeline and travel timeline whilst incorporating his PBS has enabled the patient to have increased community access and reduce fear and anxiety, therefore increasing opportunities for his wellbeing such as horse-riding. This has also meant that family have been able to meet him in the community rather than just within the hospital environment; thus enhancing his and their quality of life.

The Woodhouse have been working closely with the local community team to aid transition for the individual to a bespoke bungalow; in order for the transition to be successful, they are sharing all knowledge related to the patient and working in a trans-disciplinary manner in order ensure that the individual subsequently receives the best support in the right environment; his forever home.

Breaking Down Barriers Award – The award will celebrate an individual
or organisation who have worked to make sure people get clear information and are able to contribute their views and experiences.

Finalist- Gemma Clark- Speech & Language Therapist

Gemma was working with an individual who has severe Autistic Spectrum disorder and learning disability and is non-verbal. She implemented a travel time line in line with the timeline he uses in his apartment in order to increase a sense of safety for him and enable him to understand what was happening now and next; this has resulted in helping to reduce the number of incidents taking place. She has also implemented a PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) reward system to help the individual engage with his timetable and gain a sense of achievement.

The Positive Behaviour Support Award- This award will be presented to a team or individual who demonstrate evidence of best practice in their services. The judges are looking for outcome-based approaches that blend values about the rights of people with disabilities with evidence-based practice about how behaviour change occurs.

Finalists- The Psychology Team (Lyn Shelton, Rachel Craven, Matt Vaughn, Steve Lovatt & Sarah-Jayne Reading)

The Psychology Team have incorporated RAID (Reinforce Appropriate Implode Disruptive) as a philosophy of care at The Woodhouse with the tag line ‘PBS at its best’. Our service users are detained patients who have Learning Disability and/Autistic Spectrum Disorder diagnoses with complex presentations. The process has involved training staff in RAID; approximately 50% of staff have been trained to date and this has shown a marked improvement in the way staff relate to the service users and in the individuals’ quality of life, also resulting in a steady reduction of incidents. All staff are also given an overview of RAID during induction and guided to read each patient’s PBS plans.

To reinforce our philosophy of care, we have rolled out a poster campaign across all units and offices within the hospital. We are also in the process of reviewing all patients’ PBS plans so that they reflect the RAID approach. These will also be provided to patients in an easy read format.

This approach is relentlessly positive and the emphasis is on creating opportunities for ‘green’ behaviour with the individual in order to give the ‘red’ behaviour less chance of occurring. Our RAID PBS plans are developed as an Multidisciplinary Team approach incorporating patient’s views in the progress if they are able to do so. The psychology team facilitate formulation workshops with the team working directly with the individual; this enables us to develop a clearer picture of them as a person and input into their PBS/RAID plan in a holistic manner.

The psychology team utilise routine evaluation measures including the Emotional Problem Solving Scale which is validated for our client group; this, along with incident analysis allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of the RAID PBS plans.

The Support Worker Award – This award recognises the crucial role of the support worker in providing high quality support for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

Finalists- two people are finalists in this category; Sam Thompson & Paula Batchelor

Gemma submitted the support worker award for Paula who is a support worker who has gone above and beyond in her role in order to improve patient’s quality of life. Paula is also leading a mentor group which has been established to support new staff. Gemma will be able to give you additional info.

Sam Thompson is a Level 3 Support Worker, who has worked at The Woodhouse for nearly seven years. Lyn Shelton Principal Forensic Psychologist at The Woodhouse shares the reasons why Sam was nominated for this award;

“Sam works with autonomy and integrity in order to improve service users’ quality of life. She works on a 4-bed unit for males with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Learning Disability. Sam always goes above and beyond in her work; for example, she has taken on a number of courses in her own time in order to enhance her knowledge of patients diagnosed with ASD. Sam has incorporated this knowledge into her work and shares her knowledge with peers. As a result, Sam continually brings new ideas to patients’ MDT meetings, often acting on behalf of our patients who have communication difficulties or who are non-verbal. Additionally, she is a stalwart in applying directions from the professional MDT members, often in the face of adversity; despite this, Sam relentlessly works to support the patients to aid them to have as fulfilling lives as possible. Her positive sense of humour brings light into both the Service Users’ and staff lives.”

Paula Batchelor also a Support Worker at The Woodhouse was also shortlisted as a finalist for the Support Worker award. Gemma Clark, Speech & Language Therapist at The Woodhouse shares her reasons for nominating Paula.

“I nominated Paula for her general warmth and understanding she shows towards patients, but also for her recent work where she went above and beyond to improve a patient’s quality of life. This particular individual has been living within the hospital for a while, and it is unclear how long discharge may take, due to his case being particularly complex. Paula felt that if this were to be the case, she wanted to make his life while in hospital as enjoyable and meaningful as possible. She has taken the time to research, plan and arrange a community work experience for this person, around his interest and passion of DJ-ing and radio stations. This has taken her months, and she did so with autonomy – relentlessly researching and visiting different locations trying to find the best possible place for this individual. Her kindness and genuine passion for her job inspire me!”

The winners of each category will be announced at a gala dinner hosted at the ICC in Birmingham on 28th June 2019.

Good Luck to all of our finalists!



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