A holistic approach at Stanley House – Laura Williams, Clinical Massage Therapist & Tracy Fulcher, Physiotherapist

Stanley House offers long term care for individuals with Huntington’s disease, Acquired Brain Injury and other progressive neurological conditions. We take pride in our holistic, complementary approach to care so that residents have a sense of home throughout their time living at Stanley House.

All the staff work hard to create a warm, homely welcoming environment that ensures both residents and families feel able to be included at every stage of care and support. We know how important it is to everyone that families remain an integral part of the journey throughout disease progression and during the rehabilitation process.

Stanley House has much to offer over and above conventional therapies such as physiotherapy, residents benefit hugely from clinical massage therapy, art therapy and other alternative holistic therapies such as Reiki, beauty therapy treatments and of course the thing that makes everyone feel a little better, pampering. As a team, we work together to identify the therapies that residents both really enjoy and result in the most wonderful outcomes. Therapy goals that are set at Stanley House are often longer term goals with a bias towards enrichment and quality of life, as opposed to clinical objective measures.

Much of the therapy at the centre itself is hands on, the power of touch should not be underestimated. Many residents who live in care homes only experience touch through clinical interventions such as personal care or when being repositioned or hoisted. Here at Stanley House we appreciate the value of therapeutic touch and will always use it in a positive way to enhance wellbeing and to improve quality of life for the residents. Countless studies prove the necessity of social and emotional touch, both of which, by releasing oxytocin, boost the immune system and lower the heart rate.

In usual times and we know we are currently far from this, residents were fortunate to be able to access the local hydrotherapy pool and previously really enjoyed the freedom and benefits of being in the water. We hope that when we can all move around more freely again, this is one of the holistic activities that will be resumed at the earliest opportunity.

Partnership working with local statutory services has forged strong links and produced innovative projects such as the six weekly wheelchair hub clinic held at Stanley House. External professionals come into the service and work with us on postural assessments and the provision of specialist seating and through the years of working with local wheelchair services, we have learned together what works best for the residents, especially those with the most complex presentations. Lots of thinking outside of the box and recognising that every resident has their own unique needs and wishes is required along with knowing that one solution doesn’t fit all. This collaborative and open approach has really benefitted the residents, underpinned the importance of 24/7 postural management and proved cost effective for long term seating solutions.

We continue to work closely with the local orthotics service who are particularly involved in residents’ care and provide a variety of products which help residents to maintain optimum function for as long as possible. The strong professional relationship we have with the regional spasticity service has benefited us by providing access to their expertise and advice as required.

Since March and the challenges of COVID-19 we have found new ways of working to ensure that we continue to deliver both therapies and important third party assessments. We have adapted our clinics, most of which are now virtual although still able to provide the specialist expertise necessary.

The residents’ care at Stanley House is complex and does require the expertise of a multi-disciplinary team, however the clinical aspect of their care is not the only focus. In fact, enrichment and a good quality of life and to see residents reaching their full potential is the stimulus that continues to drive, motivate and provide the most amazing sense of job satisfaction to us all.

Laura Williams, Clinical Massage Therapist & Tracy Fulcher, Physiotherapist