I have worked here for 2 years and have seen some significant and some subtle changes in staff practice which has enabled and empowered the people we support; Great Interactions has been a major influence in this development.
I would like to introduce you to Richard and Helen. Richard loves football and is passionate about Liverpool Football Club, Helen loves football and is passionate about Chesterfield Football Club, and this shared interest forms a strong genuine bond.
Richard has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease this has slowed him down; it takes him longer to process things and at times he looks lost and bewildered, but he remains RICHARD. Staff have been creative and produced some bespoke markers that have been implemented around the building so life as it is now makes a little more sense to Richard; a football poster on the toilet door, giant Liverpool T-Shirt over his chair, to name but a few, have helped him maintain his independence.
I would really like to share an interaction I observed over one lunch time. Richard is supported earlier with his lunch so as to not impinge on his afternoon activities.
Helen approached Richard and she was smiling as she sat down, gave him eye contact and said, ‘Hello Richard, it’s Helen’. There appeared to be no immediate response and after waiting a while Helen then touched Richard’s hand and repeated what she had just said, whilst continuing to give him eye contact. Again there was no apparent response.
Whilst continuing to touch the top of his hand she changed her wording ‘It’s Helen, Richard’. Still there was nothing obvious. Then Helen put her hair behind her ears giving Richard a full view of her face, and the touch paper was lit! Everything then fell into place. Richard was beaming telling Helen who she was, asking if it was lunch time, then telling her to get a move on!
Helen was beaming, I was beaming and nearly crying, Ronan Keating was singing the words of the title of this blog in my head……don’t ask why but more than appropriate I think.
Supported by Helen, Richard got his Liverpool lunch box, sat down and ate his lunch, sweet things first. He was then ready for his activity, which on a Monday is pool. He always comes back, shaking his head and tells me ‘It’s not real sport, Karen’.
Richard… You will never walk alone!
Swanwick Memorial Hall