Home' Community Care Review : CCR Jan Feb 2016 Contents F
or us, LEAP for Life provided
The Whiddon Group with the
opportunity and the expertise
to enhance every moment that is spent
with our clients regardless of the type of
service being provided.
We were particularly attracted to the
LEAP trial as it fitted well with our care
culture and wellbeing approach. We were
also investing in new creative ageing
programs for clients and were keen to
explore more creative ways of enriching
relationship-centred care. All care staff
at our Glenfield Community Care service
participated in the training and executive
management sat on the expert panel.
The education delivered to our
team provided them with strategies
for meaningful and authentic
communication with clients. This
included identifying specific interests for
each client and using these as conduits
for communication. Care staff began
by engaging clients using collaging
techniques involving old photographs,
newspaper clippings and revisiting
favourite music and movies to put
together a storyboard for each client.
The storyboards are then added to
a client’s file, so that all staff caring for
the client can benefit from a deeper
understanding of the client’s history.
Staff report this process alone provides
a great springboard for conversation
and learning about the rich lives of our
clients. We learned that little things
matter a great deal.
For example, Maisie* told us how
much having fresh flowers from the
garden on the table every day had
meant to her in younger times. With
impaired mobility she had given up
on maintaining this, but together we
managed to find a practical solution
to enable her to resume her garden
visits every day.
Her daughter reported that it had
made a big difference to her quality
Similarly, Bill* revealed his ongoing
passion for motorbikes. Luckily our carer
shared this interest, and they agreed that
she would travel on her motorbike every
time she visited him so that he could
admire, sit on and be photographed with
the motorbike. Goals that emerged from
these conversations were included in the
client’s care plan.
We used the storyboarding exercise
to discuss with clients what creative and
engaging activities they might like to
pursue further. There was huge demand
for more arts and crafts activities and the
opportunity to view old movies. It made
sense for us to create social groups for
both of these at our Glenfield service and
invite our clients to join. These activities
have proven to be very popular and
continue to grow.
Staff use the increased client
knowledge to make every interaction
meaningful. For example, clients’
favourite music is sourced and played
during social support car trips. Songs
are sung together during showering
and dressing, and places of particular
significance to the client are visited
such as the beach or gardens. Trust and
rapport are built over every visit.
Staff use team meetings to compare
techniques that work particularly well
with certain clients and to share what
they learn. Through the LEAP trial, staff
gained confidence and became more
engaged through the shared learning.
Our clients were definitely experiencing
the benefits, as the trial results showed.
Leap for Life is now well embedded
in our Glenfield service and is being
rolled out to the rest of our community
services. It has been built into our
orientation program and new staff are
trained in the techniques through a
We were always confident about the
quality of our care staff but the trial has
taught us the importance of providing
support and permission around
more meaningful engagement with
clients while maintaining professional
One of our biggest gains is that our
staff understand the significant benefits
for clients and staff when they actively
and effectively engage with clients when
delivering any type of service. n
*Not their real names.
Karn Nelson is executive general
manager strategic policy and research
and Alyson Jarrett is general manager
community Care at The Whiddon Group.
Case study: Making every moment count
Our involvement in the
LEAP for Life program
has empowered staff
to engage more deeply
and meaningfully with
clients’ life stories,
write KARN NELSON
and ALYSON JARRETT.
A LEAP for Life session.
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