The Blue Sky Enabling workforce continue to work hard throughout these difficult times. We have had lots of support from all over, and we thank everyone who has offered us a helping hand. The most recent offer has come from the University of Bath, who have given us some new PPE to help us continue supporting our service users no matter what. Up until now we are happy to report that none of our service users have shown any signs of COVID-19, which is testament to how hard our staff are working to keep everyone involved safe and properly cared for. We are going to do our very best to keep it that way. #clapforkeyworkers #clapforcarers #clapfornhs #clapforheroes
After the festive period, we start preparing for new beginnings and a new year. It is an opportunity to set new resolutions, and work on things that will bring us joy over the year to come.
This is our tree of life, it describes all of the important things that make someone happy:
The star stands for Status: Everyone needs to feel accepted and valued by others.
The home stands for Privacy: Everyone needs privacy, they deserve to have their own space, and be able to choose what they do with it.
The heart stands for Intimacy: Everyone needs an intimate connection to at least one other person, someone with whom they can be completely themselves who cares what happens to them.
The person standing inside of a ring stands for Autonomy: Everyone needs to be involved in decisions that affect them and to have as much control over their life as possible.
The arrow zigzagging up a chart stands for Achievement: Everyone needs self-esteem and to feel that they are achieving things.
The two arrows circling one and other stands for Attention: Everyone needs to receive attention and to be able to give attention to others.
The shield stands for Security: Everyone needs to feel safe and to live without undue fear.
The world stands for Meaning: Everyone needs to do things that are important to them and that have meaning for them.
Finally, at the centre of our tree is an image of a group of people, this stands for Community: Everyone needs to be part of a community and to access it when they feel it is appropriate.
These nine concepts make up the Human Givens: all need to be met in balance for a person to live in harmony, with a high level of well-being, and a positive standing to carve their path into the future.
Over this next year we will be supporting people to live how they want to, and rather than just caring for them, we will be there enabling them to achieve a higher level of well-being in harmony with their environment.
Rachel Eades has been promoted to the position of Registered Manager, after working for Blue Sky Enabling for 5 years, and holding a number of different roles within the company. Her hard work, positive attitude and diligence are among the things that have allowed her to stand out as an indispensable member of the team. We all look forward to her growth within this capacity, and I for one can vouch a vote of confidence in this new beginning.
As we begin our new financial year, I thought I would bring you up to date with where we are and what we are focusing on this year. At the beginning of April the Strategic Management Team summarised our Core Values: RESPECT
Responsive: person centred, flexible, needs driven and adaptable
Empowering: creating an honest and open environment of choice and opportunity
Supportive: building a positive team and family spirit
Passionate: committed in heart and mind
Enjoyable: sustaining a culture of warmth, fun and wellbeing
Consistent: being reliable, safe and dependable
Transformative: always moving forward, learning, innovating and improving
Over recent months we have seen the welcome return of 2 previous members of staff as well as embraced 6 new staff members into the Blue Sky Enabling family. Rachel has further deepened her expertise of dementias and conditions acquired as people get older as she progresses her Masters, degree sponsored by BSE (but more of this in June). Aubrey’s department has seen very positive changes with the employment of Diana, making it possible for him to plan to streamline all of our administrative and management control systems (more of this later in the year). I completed Part 1 of my Diploma in Human Givens in December 2016. Although a relatively new approach within psychology, initial research* evidences that brief interventions based on the Human Givens are both relevant and effective. In February and March 2017 I did further training with Positive Response Training in Positive Approaches to Challenging Behaviour and Positive Behaviour Management and I have also begun training as a PBM Trainer, sponsored by Wiltshire Council, funded by the NHS and should qualify in May. We are continuing to discuss and secure approval to our support plans, protocols and methods of approach with service users, family members and professionals. Drawing upon my knowledge and training I shall also be able to contribute more effectively to people’s positive behaviour plans.
*Andrews, W., Twigg, E., Minami, T. and Johnson, G. (11 February 2011) ‘Piloting a practice research network: A 12-month evaluation of the Human Givens approach in primary care at a general medical practice.’ Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.
Andrews, W. P., Wislocki, A. P., Short, F., Chow, D., Minami, T. (2013) “A 5-year evaluation of the Human Givens therapy using a Practice Research Network”, Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 18 Issue: 3
For Blue Sky Enabling, our Enabler’s performance and wellbeing is vital to our continuing success. Human Resources is all about managing, developing and training the organisation’s greatest asset – our Employees.
Blue Sky Enabling is going through a period of positive change and expansion. We have been reviewing, revising and enhancing procedures that support the efficiency of our organisation. This includes the interview and induction program and so far the changes have been well received. We aim to be a learning organisation that can adapt to future changes as well continuing to solidify our foundations. We believe that by building our quality assurance checks such as regular auditing across the board, we can provide a secure working environment and secure service to our service users.
I have been working on a Performance Management System which will hopefully increase organisational transparency and communication as well as guide our staff to achieve their full potential.
At the core of our work is Blue Sky Enabling’s Mission statement:
“To enable people of different abilities to live lives of their own choosing as included members of their communities”
My role in achieving this mission will be to continue to enable our staff to be the best that they can be.
Any insights, questions or queries are always welcome and appreciated, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We have received lots of very positive compliments about our work with people with complex needs in recent months:
‘I have very much appreciated the help and support I have received when Mr H has been in hospital. Thank you.’ Mrs H June 2015
‘They are very nice carers and give lots of reassurance. My father seems a lot more comfortable these days. The hands on work has made a big difference to his situation.’ Mr M Nov 2015
‘I really think the world of you, BSE have done more for me in 1 year than any other agency has ever done.’ Mr T, service user Jan 2016
‘There has been significant progress in the care that J receives [since joining BSE from another agency], this Christmas J was as happy and interactive as I’ve seen her for several years’ Mr B, family member Jan 2016
This year Blue Sky Enabling and our Strategic Management Team are investing heavily in our development and training so that we are improving and building on what we have achieved to date. Below, each of the members of our Strategic Management Team will introduce the part of our overall plan for progressions that they are focusing on. Each month one of the Management Team will write a blog updating you on our acheivements:
Shelley Saxon Director & Registered Manager – Care Manager Adults with LD, ASD and Complex Needs
Blue Sky Enabling specialises in working with people with a whole range of complex needs, so each person’s package of support is uniquely designed for them. In order to further improve the quality of services they receive, last year we began the process of dividing of our service users into two groups under the guidance of a specialist manager: Adults with LD, ASD and other complex needs under my management; and Older People with Dementia, Degenerative Conditions and other complex needs under the management of Rachel. Rachel and I will continue to work closely together, but this change enables us to focus on building multi-agency links within our own specialisms so that our clients benefit for the collective skills and integrated response of their whole professional support team.
This year I am doing the AET and the Human Givens Diploma in Psychotherapy that focuses on depressions, anxiety disorders, PTSD, phobias, anger, addictions, behavioural problems, eating disorders, psychosis, relationship problems, self-harming and much more. I am really looking forward to using my knowledge and skills for the benefit of our clients. This will enhance our capacity to develop and train staff in effective enabling interventions.
Rachel Eades – Care Manager for Older People
In February 2016 I begin a Master’s Degree in Integrative Health and Social Care. This year I will study Ethical and Legal issues in Healthcare Policy and Practice before going on to specialise in Dementia care. With this Masters I will be able to further Blue Sky Enabling’s ability to maximise the positive effects we have on the lives of those suffering degenerative complex conditions. I will also explore ways in which we can support staff members working with individuals with dementia effectively and ensure they have the tools they need to provide excellent person centred care..
I really enjoy specialising in the support of Older People and assisting individuals to maintain their independence and enjoyment of life, for as long as possible, in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.
I am also completing an AET award to enable me to pass knowledge onto staff and run courses in areas where I am deemed an ‘expert’. This is exciting and will allow me to explore education as a teacher and pass valuable knowledge onto my team to assist them to be the best Enabler they can be.
Aubrey Saxon – Office & Business Development Manager
This year I am paying particular attention to developing Blue Sky Enabling’s administrative and communication systems. After discussing the communication channels between management, enablers, service users, their families and health professionals, we are making the move towards developing a hosted electronic system that will re-place most of the current paper based system.
The use of paper documents has dominated the care industry for years however it is slow, unreliable, and costly. Our new administrative system will use modern technology to enable us to centralise and streamline all our incoming and outgoing information in real-time. This will make things easier and more efficient for our staff.
We will also be able to give live updates to all relevant parties through interconnected portals. There will be more options to involve a service user in documenting and recording the quality of their care, with the possibilities of uploading photographs and audio files, by which they can express their feelings on how their daily shifts have gone with our enablers.
Anna Hepworth Ellis – Office/HR Administrator
I joined Blue Sky Enabling as the Office/ Human Resources Administrator in November 2015. I work closely with the other members of the Strategic Management Team to problem solve ways to increase office efficiency and strengthen our staff team.
We have revised our recruitment procedure replacing the standard interview with a 3-stage process: pre-interview questionnaire for candidates to self-evaluate their experience of doing a broad range of enabling/care/support tasks and questions that demonstrate their problem solving skills, and their understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses; interview; role play exercise to see how they perform under stress.
This year we will begin using evidence based interventions such as a new Performance Management Program to nurture and develop a happy and loyal staff team that provide an outstanding level of care for our service users.
Blue Sky Enabling and the company’s directors, Shelley Saxon and Steve Lo are pleased to let you know that they raised £315 from a whisky tasting evening run by Bruce Bennett of Fine Scottish Hampers. Shelley was host – and spot on when it came to identifying the subtle notes of the whiskies! – whilst Steve cooked an amazing menu to compliment the whiskies and neighbours, colleagues and friends from Bath Parade BNI had a fantastic evening and generously donated funds to buy Xmas gifts for Bristol Children’s Hospital. Shelley asked the hospital wards what they needed to bring some Xmas cheer to the children who will be in hospital over festive period. Following the guidance received, on Sunday, she and Steve delivered sensory gifts (bubbling fish lamps, CD players and mood lights) to the burns and high dependency ward, and puzzles and building and craft gifts with favourite themes (Horrible Histories, Frozen and Minions) to the cardiac and oncology wards. The hospital staff were really touched by people’s generosity and we know the children will really enjoy the gifts received! So a huge THANK YOU from Blue Sky Enabling to all the people who helped make this happen.
Seasons good cheer to all!!!
This week for those of us fortunate enough to see it, we experienced a blood moon – there is no special paint-box that turns the moon crimson it’s just the combination of a clear night sky, and a full moon coupled with a full lunar eclipse creating a moment of perfection.
Ordinary elements brought together in a unique way creating magic.
Someone’s passing too can be said to be part of the ordinary every day happenings of human life – but the right combination of care and support and family can make even the darkest days a magical experience. This week we supported a lovely lady of 98 and her family as she made her final journey. Each moment was gentle and loving for her and her son and daughter, their spouses and children, cousins, nephews and nieces so that they experienced her passing as a blood moon, a treasured and wondrous celebration of her life. That’s Blue Sky Enabling where Life is for Living, and someone’s passing is an opportunity for a new beginning.
I am not a Cleaner… but I clean, tidy, vacuum and dust.
I am not a Beauty Therapist … but wash and comb hair as well as file and paint nails
I am not a Chef… but I plan, prepare and cook meals
I am not a Waitress… but I prepare drinks and snacks as well as serve them
I am not a Physiotherapist… but I help with exercises and building up strength
I am not a Best friend… but I chat, have coffee, go to the theatre and shop
I am not a Laundress … but I collect, clean, hang out and iron clothes
I am not a Gardener… but I assist to buy, plant and tend to flowers
I am not a Nurse… but I help with meds, identify and monitor health concerns and consult with Dr’s
I am not a Secretary… but I organise possessions, help with correspondence, make appointments and keep the diary
I do not have any of these jobs, but I am an Enabler… I do all of these jobs.
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pale of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after but fortunately she was unharmed and called an ambulance on her mobile. Doc Marttin said Jack only had a bump on his head as the crown had taken most of the blow – although he did wonder why Jack was wearing a crown – Doc wanted to keep Jack in for observation and treatment but Jack wanted to go home – and he wasn’t going to leave his crown where anyone could nick it! Doc Marttin agreed to send Jack home with support from Blue Sky Enabling and he set in place a ‘virtual ward’ so Jack would receive daily input from District Matron Marion and her merry band of outlaws. In less than a week at home Jack has made a remarkable recovery and DM Marion says the ‘virtual ward’ is definitely the way to go for older people.
‘So what is a ‘virtual ward’? A ‘virtual ward’ brings together all the professionals, including the patient’s own GP, District Matron, District Nurses, Continence Nurses, the Physiotherapist, the Occupational Therapist and Enablers/Carers so that they work as specialist parts of one integrated connected team delivering medical services and care to the person in the comfort of their own home.
Providing the right medical care for the elderly is a growing problem. Statistics show that 1 in 10 older people over 75 years of age are admitted to hospital as an emergency; this increases to 1 in 5 when people get to 95 years of age. Most of these unplanned hospital admissions will be in the winter months as a result of strokes, heart failure, falls, chest infections and urinary tract infections or a combination of these.
Hospital stays can be very disorientating and stressful for older people, especially those who already suffer from any of the dementias or sensory impairment and they rapidly become increasingly vulnerable to viral infections such as MRSA and E’Coli.
Once people have overcome the critical phase of their initial condition setting up the continuation of their treatment and care at home through a virtual ward significantly reduces the risk of cross-viral infections and provides a familiar stable environment that promotes a speedy recovery.
For fast recovery following hospital admission for older people call me, that’s Shelley Saxon, and we will help them to set up their own virtual ward with the support of their own GP.
Blue Sky Enabling: Life is for Living