As part of the quality auditing, I am responsible to conduct spot checks and I normally do this by working alongside the staff. Last week I decided to work alongside a new member of staff who was supporting Amy, a young lady who still attends college and needs support in the evening with having a shower. Amy has very limited communication and uses a wheelchair to get around. Amanda, the member of staff I was shadowing, met me outside Amy’s home and explained in detail the routine for the support. I had met Amy before and was aware of her needs. Amy lives with her mum who opened the door and welcomed us in.
Amy was in the lounge when we arrived and once Amanda said ‘hello’ to mum she went towards the lounge. Her mum told me then to watch Amy and her response to seeing Amanda. And I am glad I did as the most beautiful smile appeared on Amy’s face when Amanda entered the lounge. Amanda went straight to Amy, leaned to her level and when Amy reached towards her Amanda turned her head to the side so that Amy can pat her cheek. Throughout, Amanda was smiling and chatting along with Amy and soon they were in their little bubble, laughing and mimicking each other’s facial expressions.
Mum sat next to me smiling and told me that Amy is always happy when the staff come in. I asked her if Amanda’s interactions were the only ones of this kind and she responded that all the staff have been excellent and that they all have similar approaches but that Amy will respond to each in a different way, either by patting their cheek, their hair or simply holding their hand and smiling. After a few minutes Amanda took Amy to her room so that Amy could get ready for bed. Giggling and laughter was still present until Amy was tucked in and ready to sleep.
The support time allocated is only 45 minutes and in that very short time it can sometimes feel it’s impossible to do more than just what you were meant to do – get someone ready for bed. However Amanda proved that even in this very short time support can be given in a very person centred way and still allow time to have Great Interactions with the person and facilitate good and meaningful outcomes.
Hampshire and Kent