As the Supported Living North Cumbria (SNLC) team, part of Walsingham Support, gather around James’ desk in a tight knit semi-huddle, it’s clear they are a close team. James, Alex, Louise and Carol, are humble beyond belief, having pioneered a new person-centred way to support the people in their care using co-produced video support plans.
Support plans are normally pages of documents detailing what a person we support needs from how they like their tea to when they need to take their medication.
The video support plans aim to get the people they support more involved in the induction of their staff teams. They help staff feel more at ease in preparing them for their role, helping them understand the person they’re about to support, how to speak to them, how to interact with them and how to understand their capabilities. This in turn ensures that the person being supported also feels more comfortable, knowing that their support plan has been viewed in this innovative way.
The team recognise that everyone supported is different and with each individual having different needs and abilities, the SLNC team are able to demonstrate their clear understanding through the use of the video support plans.
The team initially used mobile phones to film the video support plans as a trial. Then, with greater capacity to communicate their needs following the success of these trials, they applied for funding but were turned down by Skills for Care. The project nevertheless was funded by Bill’s Fund, an internal grant system which provides money to help to improve the lives of the people supported in an innovative way.
The team who have 58 years of care work experience were between then were delighted to win The Home Care Team Award at the 2019 Great British Care Awards in the North West.
Carol Tinning, team member, said: “This felt brilliant for us. At the end of the day this is not a job, it’s a vocation. We’re very bad at saying how good we are and to have that recognition is great. It made us feel valued.”
Following their win, the team decided to share their knowledge and together with the Co-Production team, they held a collaborative workshop in November 2019, sharing their video support plans and best practice. The SLNC team have even started providing training with local authorities and other care providers including positive behaviour communication courses with Carlisle County Council and United Response.
So what’s next for Carol and the team?
“We want everyone to have a video support plan, not only in our organisation but across social care nationally and as technology advances this can only get even better”.