Visiting Richard

Over the last couple of months I have visited Richard in Powys a few times. Sometimes to just drop something off, other times to do an audit. Some things always remain the same.

Last month, I arrived at Richard’s house and I rang the doorbell. Just when I thought that Richard mustn’t have heard, I heard Lee, his support worker, giving him encouragement to walk to the door and see who was there. Lee’s voice was warm and encouraging. The door opened a few moments later and it was Richard who was at the door to greet and welcome me. Lee was present also but he used his positioning so that Richard was the main focus at the door. I liked the way that Lee did this, he knew that if Richard didn’t know who was at the door, he would need support immediately so he needed to be at the door as well, but he managed to fade into the back ground. This could have been achieved either by Lee being adept at fading himself into the background or the one million watt smile that Richard has. Either way, it was a great start to my visit.

Once we got inside, Lee encouraged Richard to offer me a cup of tea. I gratefully accepted and we went through to the kitchen. I chatted to Richard and Lee about their plans for the day and the things that they have been doing. Our conversation was paused several times whilst Lee encouraged Richard to engage with making our drinks. The way that Lee supported Richard was very natural. They kept up the conversation that I was having with them whilst Lee simultaneously encouraged Richard to make the drinks. Lee was using eye contact to gain Richard’s attention and warmth in his praise and his encouragement when Richard was carrying out tasks. Lee stepped in and stepped back patiently throughout the time Richard was making the drinks.

On reflection, I think that the only part of the tea making process that Lee actually did was pour the boiling water into the cups, Richard did everything else.

MacIntyre have supported Richard for many years. And Richard has one of the most committed staff teams. His team is made up of Lee, Nina, Christine and Martin. Between them, they have decades of experience of supporting Richard. The way that Lee supported Richard with making the drinks is the way that the staff team work. They all provide understated, positive support, built on a facilitative approach. Although I have based this blog on Lee, some things remain the same whenever I visit Richard at home. Richard is always the person who answers the door and he is always involved in what is happening whether that is making his lunch or making a cup of tea or even doing a bit of cleaning. That is if Richard is home!! Richard’s staff team are getting it right for him and he is happy, well supported, appreciated by the team and he has 4 exceptional advocates.

Lowri Bartrum
Area Manager
Shropshire, Powys and Wrexham

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