Luke Murphy, PBS Manager, Home From Home Care
2nd April is World Autism Acceptance Day, with celebrations and awareness raising continuing across the whole month. Here Luke Murphy, PBS Manager at Home From Home Care, looks at the role of innovation to allow all autistic people to live their best lives.
There are times in our lives where we experience difficulties but having the right sort of support can really help when it hasn’t been your day. This applies to most people, but is particularly relevant when considering the role of care in helping autistic people to live their best lives.
Many autistic people experience poorer ‘traditional’ quality of life outcomes and score lower on wellbeing measures than the neurotypical population; things like employment, relationships, health, and general living situation can all be impacted. That’s not to say that scoring lower on a questionnaire means that you are unhappy, but having the right sort of support at the right time can really make all the difference to someone’s life.
As a Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) Manager at Home From Home Care in Lincolnshire, my focus is on supporting autistic people and individuals with a wide range of complex mental health and physical needs, to enhance their quality of life. Whether it’s through residential care, day services or specialist integration services we tailor the support we provide to each individual to ensure it is truly person centred.
For individuals who use our residential services, everything is bespoke to their needs. From the physical environment, such as bedrooms and living spaces to the social environment, such as lifestyles and interest, we support the development of a Capable Environment.
Parents, family members and loved ones are undoubtedly one of the most significant support networks that most people have, but that’s not always the kind of help a person might want for certain situations. At Home From Home Care, we aim to help each individual become a master of their own destiny and create “a world on their terms”. We support and encourage people to live as independently as possible and pursue their interests, exploring and discovering new experiences and playing an active role within the wider community… although effective support does also require pointing out that not everything is always a good idea and coping strategies are valuable for responding to challenges.
As you’ll know, care is in a crisis; from a lack of funding to a lack of workers, the sector faces serious problems which threaten the quality of services or the number of people that can be supported, particularly people with the greatest need. So, as care providers, we need to overcome these to provide the support autistic people need.
For us, we’ve developed technology and innovated a New Model of Care that enhances the support we provide. As a result of this, and investment in our amazing team, we’ve managed to defy the trends that are shaking the industry. The high-tech, data-informed systems our team has developed in-house over 12 years has transformed our capability to deliver care: Nine of our 11 homes are rated Outstanding, with the others rated Good, and we’re fully staffed (a very rare achievement these days).
Across the organisation, my colleagues and I log and report everything as part of the daily routine. Everything is digital; it’s quick and straightforward and the data is monitored by a central team of Intersourcers who view and compare millions of data points. Equipped with the big data picture for each individual we support, they detect trends, spot anomalies, and give informed real-time advice based on facts generated in real-time. This means issues are resolved before they aggregate and become problems. Importantly, data gives each individual a voice; we operate under the mantra that an individual’s actions and behaviours are their way of expressing what they are feeling, even more so when they are non verbal. Using our comprehensive data insights in partnership with the individual, enhances their decision making and reduces frustrations.
Our data informed model reduces the traditional workload of managers and support workers, freeing up their time to focus on the individual in a more informed way and enabling us to work more efficiently and effectively. As well as helping us to do our jobs, our data informed NewModel creates lots of exciting new opportunities for career progression and advancement, and it’s even used to manage flexible working schedules, flexible payments and loyalty bonus schemes that boost our pay.
The reason I’m writing about this isn’t to boast about our achievements; it’s to encourage. Care can, and should, rise to meet the needs of everyone helping them to live their lives to the fullest. We just need to move away from the traditional and archaic and modernise. We need to innovate and focus on working smarter and truly understand what is possible in this new, data-informed world.