Co-Production Learning Disabilities & Autism Opinion

Doing nothing at the right time

 

Ben Adkins,
Senior Positive Behaviour Support Audit Lead, Accomplish Group

As care professionals we often feel that to be doing our job properly we need to be “doing”. Here Senior Positive Behaviour Support Audit Lead at Accomplish Group, Ben Adkins, shares that actually that ‘doing nothing at the right time’ and co-production of services and service delivery not only empowers people supported in care services but helps drive quality too.

“At Accomplish Group we support people in a range of settings including residential and supported living. As part of our approach to positively supporting people, we’re very much focused on the ‘doing with, not for’ approach of care and co-production is something we’re really passionate about.

“As carers that can be more difficult than people appreciate, that stepping back and only helping where it’s needed because carers naturally want to care. And they can feel sometimes that if they’re not physically doing something then they’re not really doing their job.

“But that’s the essence of really good care; doing nothing at the right time. Care should be a reciprocal relationship and people should be at the very core of their care.

“Co-production in services, and outside of them, is key. What co-production looks like is very different for each individual person and there’s no one size fits all approach that care providers can or should take. Take Adam, for example. He’s a gentleman supported in an residential service which supports people with autism.

“Adam is absolutely essential in the recruitment process and the Manager really values his input. He is involved in most interviews. Sometimes he doesn’t want to engage during the interview and will ignore the person or not interact – but actually can there be a truer test of whether or not a person is cut out to work in a care environment if they can’t deal with an awkward interview and how they respond to challenge? It’s a real test of their resolve!

“Adam isn’t the stereotypical example of co-production; he’s not always in the mood to engage but no matter whether he wants to engage or not, he is always involved in the interviews when he wants to be and the team really value his opinions.

“People we support are also involved in the auditing process and in another service Kayley, a person we support, plays an active and fulsome role in the health and safety aspects of where she lives. She has updated all of the home’s health and safety documents including risk assessments and is training in fire safety and awareness.

“In learning new skills around H&S and as a Fire Warden, she is not only gaining important experience and knowledge, but she is also benefitting the whole service. Kayley is doing an amazing job and her work is great for everyone because not only is it empowering for Kayley, but it helps the staff team understand more about how the policies and procedures work – and how effective they are – from the perspective of a person we support.

“We always need to remember that the expert in all situations is the person we support but that co-production doesn’t always have to take a functional role. Claire, for example, creates and runs her own weekly crafting sessions at the Accomplish Social Club, which is run virtually and was developed during COVID-19.

“Running these sessions with support from her team has seen Claire’s confidence “grow dramatically”, helped her meet new people as well as share her skills and talents with others. It is a lot of work but she is loving the responsibility and the opportunity to teach people new skills.

“Claire is rightly very proud of her achievements and this is a true example of co-production. Her expertise and wants and wishes are right at the centre and she has support with the elements she needs such as planning but the staff step back when that help is not needed and let Claire’s skills shine.

“That’s three very different examples of co-production, demonstrating that co-production is unique to the person and what they want to do and achieve. Fundamentally it’s about seeing everything from the perspective of the person we support and supporting them to have ownership of the environment, of their care and their lives, only stepping in to help when it’s absolutely required.

“Someone will flourish when they have power and a sense of purpose in their life and co-production contributes greatly to that.”

All names have been changed to protect confidentiality.

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