How we communicate, how we ensure that we understand what someone is trying to communicate to us, our day to day interactions: this has really been at the forefront of my thoughts in recent months.
This reflection has mainly been down to a real change in needs for some of the people that we support in Milton Keynes. This may be due to illness or ageing or more recently trying to identify why someone is hurting themselves; trying to pinpoint why this behaviour is happening, so we can support the person to make themselves heard by another means.
It is so important that we never give up; that we keep persisting to try and understand what the person themselves are trying to communicate. I have seen first-hand how staff are creative in their own thinking to try and unpick what might be happening for that person at that time, using all manner of different techniques that may support that person to make themselves understood, but being relentless in never giving up until they have got to the bottom of what it may be.
We are lucky enough to have a wealth of resources available to us within MacIntyre, but what really dawned on me was that our biggest resource is our staff, families and carers of the people that live in the homes where we all work: so much knowledge, so much understanding of what makes that person tick! Really knowing the person, being able to understand when someone may be having a difficult day, or recognising that that person may be in pain, agitated or distressed emotionally! These are all highly regarded skills that we as an organisation have in abundance, but the resources available are only as good as the people that implement and use them, the knowing and understanding of the person, that’s what’s key.
In some of the homes people are nearing the end of their life and I feel very lucky to have such a dedicated workforce that day in day out do what it ‘says on the tin’! And having met with families recently to have what can only be described as difficult and emotional conversations, the thing that they hold dear is the endless support that their son or daughter is in receipt of, giving them great comfort in the difficult weeks that lie ahead.
Although all the above might be difficult to think about and certainly hard to talk about at times, for me it’s never been more important that we do communicate and keep on doing so in readiness for what challenges are ahead. Sharing all our stories and the wealth of knowledge that we all have, being creative and never giving up in our efforts to ensure that we are listening to what is being said to us and then importantly acting on this to help support the person with whatever it may be. It doesn’t, for me, get any better than when I know that I have got it right.
Area Manager, Milton Keynes