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Working at a brain injury service

Susan Guest is a Service Manager at one of our brain injury services, for brain injury week we got in touch with Susan to find out what it’s like working at a brain injury service.

Susan Guest is a Service Manager at 48 Cedar Road. This is a brain injury rehabilitation residential home in Dudley. At 48 Cedar Road we support up to nine people, and support people in their own homes. We focus on helping people with brain injuries to develop and maintain their cognitive skills. Below, Susan explains what brain injury rehabilitation is and what it’s like to work at a brain injury service.

What is a brain injury rehabilitation service?

“A service that provides care and support to rehabilitate people who have had a brain injury. We help people build independent living skills so that they can live a fulfilled life.”

What kind of conditions do people with a brain injury have?

“They all have very different needs. We have people with mental health issues as well as an acquired brain injury (ABI). An acquired brain injury can happen after a life changing event. This could be because of a car accident, or the result of a health condition, like a stroke. These types of incidents change people’s lives forever and can affect their ability to live independently.”

What kind of people do we support at 48 Cedar Road?

“At 48 Cedar Road we have some people that need 24-hour care as they have no mobility. They need support with washing, cleaning and everyday tasks. Some people we support are a bit more independent and have goals set in place that they want to achieve. For example, people may need therapy support or speech and language development. And then we have people on an outreach support package.

“Outreach support is on a one-to-one level where we send out our team to deliver care and support to people in their own home. These individuals are living more independently than residents at 48 Cedar Road. They can complete their daily routine on their own, such as washing themselves and cooking. What they need from us is more social and security support. This could be helping them complete their weekly food shop, accessing local community facilities like the park or the library, or getting into education.

“Outreach support is usually for a couple of hours a day to help people re-learn or build new skills. As individuals become more independent, we change their person-centred support plan to work toward new goals or reduce the level of one-to-one support we provide.”

How big is the team at 48 Cedar Road?

“I’m the registered manager here and we’ve got a deputy manager, three senior support workers, and several support staff. We have eight staff on the morning shift, six on the afternoon and three support workers that work the night shift.

“We all work as a team so at the end of a shift we update support plans so the next person starting their shift knows exactly what to do. The hand over is important as it makes the support we provide consistent.

“We also are supported by the wider business, such as the Quality Team. They are really great and give us all the important information that we need to ensure we follow rules and regulations. The training department have been available for us even after we completed our training to answer any questions.”

How does the support team care for people with a brain injury?

“Our support team is a multi-disciplinary team. This includes experts like speech and language therapists and psychology therapists as well as support staff. The experts are a part of the support package we offer and help guide the person-centred support plan.

“A person-centred support plan is created with the support team, the individual and their families to provide the best possible care and support. We use this plan to encourage, educate and support people to take control of their lives and regain their independence.

“We work closely with the people we support and their families to define what the individual’s needs and goals are. We then create activities and introduce sessions with the relevant therapists to work toward achieving what’s defined in the plan. We make sure the care and support plan is inclusive of family and support networks.”

How do we train our support teams?

“All of our training is tailored to the needs of the people we support. Staff are also paid during their training. For brain injury there are several advanced levels of brain injury support training, as well as five mandatory modules. Staff can also complete a brain injury related apprenticeship and other e-learning awareness courses.

“All of the team also receive specialist training on a range of tools that we use, such as Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) and Therapy Outcome Measures (TOMS). Senior managers can also work towards a postgraduate Continuing Professional Development (CPD) pathway.

“Hands-on training is really important and from your first day you’re allocated a buddy. So, you’ll shadow someone who is more experienced. Your buddy can help you with your E-learning and answer any questions you might have. It’s also a great way of settling into the team.”

What do you need to work at a brain injury service?

“You’ve definitely got to be extremely patient and compassionate, giving people the time, they need and avoid making assumptions. Don’t assume that just because somebody can’t do something, that they have nothing to offer – they’ll always surprise you! You must have the passion to go above and beyond to support people despite their condition and limitations. After all, you could be the reason their quality of life is improved.

“If you’re thinking about applying, then I would say to just go for it! The best thing about Voyage Care is that they train all staff. You don’t have to have any qualifications to apply. You just need to have the drive and passion to make a difference to someone’s life.”

We’re recruiting nationwide at our brain injury services. Find current vacancies near you.