Welcome to Unity Dorset: Approved Dorset Council Framework Provider & ISF Provider
Home Articles Posted by Colleen James
Wow is has been a week full of proactive staff completing some of their online training and it is only Wednesday!!
Massive Well Done to Jemma, Amanda and Rebecca for completing Challenging Behaviours, Personality Disorders, Communication and Paranoia.
We are in the process of revamping our training programme and have look at many different ways to provide less online training and increase our classroom based sessions. This however, does prove difficult with the greatest ambition because of basic logistics of costs and having all team members in one place at one time because, of course we are supporting people who use our service at all times of day.
So we have compromised and agreed that initially staff will complete online courses and when classroom courses are available we will complete this additionally to our online training. This means that our staff have a buffer of information and training from online and the top up and enhancement from the classroom.
I think we have finally found our training process that works for us. Who knows we may even branch out into providing our own training. WATCH THIS SPACE!
Recently we have been talking about our own lived experiences with mental health needs or learning disabilities. As part of our collaboration with the ‘time to change’ movement we, have been encouraging each other to speak up about our own experiences and to break the stigma on mental health and learning disabilities. Some of us have shared our experiences publicly, or just within the company or not all. Whichever way we chose to deal with our own experiences is our own choice but by us sharing our stories we are at least showing that it is Okay to have challenges in life. We are showing that we are all human and no matter our position in the company or life we can face obstacles. It shows the people that we support that they can overcome their own challenges and live a rewarding and fulfilling life. We can empathise with their needs and provide guidance on how to move forward through our own experiences.
I hope that by sharing our stories that, the employee who wishes to keep their challenges to themselves knows that it is Okay to not be Okay and finds some strength in knowing they are not alone. I hope that the people we support draw some inspiration from our stories and use it to help them fight the fears and stigmas they face.
Take a look at our ‘Meet the Team’ page to see our lived experiences. Some of our team are still working on their contribution. Enjoy!
Unity Dorset is excited to be working on their Employee Well-being pledge.
As a support provider for adults with mental health needs such as schizophrenia and psychosis, personality disorders, challenging behaviours and learning disabilities we know all too well the impact of mental health on individuals and how it affects everyone in different ways. Our support workers provide support in individuals hours of need, periods of crisis and general day to day battles with mental health needs but all too often we can forget the impact it has on the people supporting others through these challenges.
Why are we launching our Employee Well-being Pledge? Okay! well lets be honest, we have always shown an interest in our employees well-being however, it has probably not been as consistent and promoted within our company. Lets be even more honest! we have lost some amazing support workers who have struggled with their own mental health issues either from a direct result of supporting individuals with mental health needs or from their own personal problems away from work. We probably could have provided additional support at the time but focused more on the promotion of well-being of the people we support (something we will still continue to do as a support provider).
What have we done so far?
We have implemented an Employee Well-Being champion within Unity Dorset who will be responsible for planning well-being events, surveys, implementing MIND tools and employee engagement to name a few.
Become a ‘Time to Change’ champion and completed champion training modules through the ‘time to change’ movement http://www.time-to-change.org.uk
Registered to join the ‘time to change’ employers pledge
Downloaded time to change and MIND resources for our workplace.
What are we doing next?
An official launch of our Employee Well-being Pledge and review our mental health at work policy and procedures.
Organise 6 weekly well-being clinics for our support staff and inviting counsellors and other guest speakers to each clinic to offer qualified advice. The clinic is aimed to encourage our staff to talk about their own mental health needs and work on action plans on how we can support them through it.
This is an exciting movement for us and we hope that through our pledge we will be able to support our team through their own challenges. Big respect to our support workers!!!
We have introduced our workplace champion scheme! This is something that we are really excited about because it provides our support workers with additional opportunities and build on the knowledge they already have.
The whole idea of the scheme is to have a support worker to be an expert in a particular area and be the “go to” for advice, knowledge, information and training. This service will not only be for our support workers but for the individuals we support and their family and friends.
We have the following champion categories for our employees
Positive Behaviour Support/Challenging Behaviours
Schizophrenia and Psychosis
Service User/Family/Friends Well-being
Service User Induction
A poll has gone out allowing our support workers to select the area they would like to champion. Then the work will begin to make them bigger champions than the ones they already are!! Once we have our champions in place we will share with you all who they are and how to contact them via our website.
Our next plan with our champion scheme is to provide champion opportunities to the individuals we support as well as their family and friends.
Wow we are over the moon to be one of the finalists for the Special Recognition Award in Dorset Echo’s 2019 Care Awards!!
We nominated our whole team of support workers for this award category because we feel they need the recognition for all the hard work they do to, ensure the adults we support stay well and achieve what they thought was impossible.
Our support workers work with individuals with complex mental health needs, learning disabilities and challenging behaviours. They work unsocial hours to ensure that support needs are met and go above and beyond to help individuals achieve their goals. Some of our customers have spent many years in mental health hospitals away from their local community, family and friends, so moving out into the community again and leading a more independent life with our support is a big step and an achievement individuals do not want to go back on. The improvement and impact that our support workers have made on individual lives is amazing and has enabled individuals to stay well and live a more independent life. Their passion, motivation and overall caring nature has played a vital role in achieving this.
We are so proud of our team no matter what the results and we are just honoured to be a finalist in this category! Good Luck to our team!
As a mental health support provider we know all too well the importance of individual well-being and the stigma attached to mental health conditions. We are however, very lucky to have the experience working with individuals with schizophrenia, psychosis and personality disorders and have the privilege to help them overcome challenges in their lives.
We have seen however the impact a stigma of a mental health diagnosis has on individuals because of what is portrayed in the media. This can sometimes have a negative impact on individuals such as; causing isolation from the community or a further decline in their health and overall wellness.. Over the recent years there has been more movement and proactive campaigns to break the stigma given to mental health diagnosis and we want to join in with the movement and educate people on what it is actually like to have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, psychosis and personality disorders. Some of our service users are taking part in the ‘time to change’ campaign by writing a blog about their what it is like living with a mental health diagnosis.
We are very proud of the individuals we support with mental health needs because they battle each day with their diagnosis and public perception but still focus on achieving their outcomes and goals!
As a support provider for adults with complex mental health needs and challenging behaviours, we use tools such as positive behaviour support plans, challenging behaviour and de-escalation training to help us support individuals effectively and ultimately reduce the likeliness of challenging behaviours occurring. We have found these tools helpful and allowed us to spot triggers and work to reduce or remove triggers or be more prepared for challenging behaviour when spontaneous triggers happen.
So as part of our ongoing improvement and wanting to become experts in this area we are working with the Positive Behaviour Support Academy UK by using their framework to assess our current resources and tools in place and then creating action plans to put additional requirements in place to better our delivery of positive behaviour support. As a provider for adults with challenging behaviours and complex needs we feel it is very important to reflect best practice.
And finally how many times can I mention Challenging and Behaviour in one post ……..
We are so so happy to be writing this blog about our recent achievement of being approved on the new Dorset County Council’s provider framework – Learning Disabilities!
Running your own company and covering 3 different roles and doing the occasional support shift is a challenge on its own and so throwing a very important project into the mix made life very fast paced over the last 4 months. There was lots of early morning starts and late night finishes of completing the draft, improving the draft, deleting the draft and starting again until we were happy with the work we submitted.
We have always been visited and accredited by Dorset County Councils Quality Improvement team who, have worked with us to ensure continuous improvement to our service but, we have always found it difficult to set the time aside to submit onto Dorset County’s previous framework and so this achievement has been very much welcomed and boosted the confidence we have in our service and reaffirms that we do a fantastic job supporting adults with mental health needs or learning disabilities. Without our fantastic team of support workers who have ensured that our service users are supported according to their needs, we would not have been able to do this. A massive thank you to our team.
What does this mean? so now going forward it means that Unity Dorset can grow and we can provide our service to more individuals with learning disabilities who may previously not had access to us. We will be able to offer more opportunities to our staff and invest in more innovative ideas to support our service users to achieve independence and control!
The news of our success was followed up by a few celebratory bubbles and our team have a chance to celebrate with us with their own gift of bubbles from Unity Dorset (when not at work)
We look forward to our future and continued partnership with Dorset County Council
Love Colleen and Grant Waller
We have been getting greener and greener as a company and doing our bit to reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment. We have an environmental plan in place and so far have made some great changes.
So far we have;
We have changed all our light bulbs to energy saving bulbs
Installed timer light switches in communal hallways
We continued household recycling
Gravity led showers have been installed where possible
We have gone PAPERLESS! We now use a digital care management system and digital HR system.
We have reduced printing and delivery of ink as a result of going digital
Continue to encourage the use of public transport and more active ways of getting around
We no longer use antibacterial wipes and have reverted to good old fashioned reusable cloths and anti-bacterial spray
We continue to recycle old electrical items appropriately at our local household recycling centre
All goods receipts have been requested digitally to reduce paper waste and unnecessary postage and use of the transport system
Making a difference to our environment is a big priority for us and we will be continuing to make changes so watch this space!