An update from Kate – as the country reopens
Another positive week with no new Covid cases amongst people we support or staff. It is becoming almost easy to forget the crisis the country has been in for a number of months, yet we must remain vigilant. At the peak in January there were 1,800 people dying a day with Covid-19 and this week the average has reduced to 20. I feel more confident now to rejoice in just how lucky we have been not to lose any people we support or employees to Covid. Equally I’m proud to share that 81% of frontline staff have received their first vaccination.
As the Government begin to lift the restrictions on people meeting, accessing tourism and leisure facilities and the gradual opening of hospitality, we are considering not just how we can support people to transition to an environment with more people in it, but also how might that look for people we support. With this mind we are distributing surveys to our employees and managers to complete with the people we support and also to families, to ask what a ‘Good Day’ might look like for the person they support or their relative. We would like to establish what Autism at Kingwood can do to help enable people to access meaningful activities and places. The scope will be different for everyone we support. We would like to hear what matters to people; where interests are; where enjoyment can be found and where learning and skills development can be achieved. Our intention is to use the funds raised from the Everest Base Camp Trek to help where necessary.
Everyone has the right to have a say about their life yet in reality we know the perspectives of some people with disabilities are seldom heard. The Challenging Behaviour Foundation and Tizard Centre: University of Kent, were commissioned by the NHSE to explore how adults and children with the most limited communication skills can be better supported to share their views and influence the support they receive and the life they lead. As a member of the Seldom Heard advisory group supporting the project it is both frustrating that there is still so much to achieve for and with people with complex needs, but also encouraging that at least the deficit is identified and proactive work to address that underway. Nine people with severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities and their communication partners (relatives or paid staff) have been identified to assist with the project. The pandemic has made discussions harder but virtual visits have enabled the project to progress. More information and project progress can be found on the website https://www.challengingbehaviour.org.uk/driving-change/seldom-heard.html