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Showing posts from September, 2014

No one wants strangers in their home - the importance of building trusting relationships

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We are pleased to be publishing the first pages of a journal being written by Vicky Williams who joined Green Light this month. The diary describes her daily experiences and how the two week induction has given her a fresh approach to her role as a support worker. 
Green Light appealed to me because they have a different approach to supporting people who display challenging behaviour and I have heard great things about the company. Making sure the environment is right for the customers from the beginning and having the right staff is very important to me, I have experience when this has gone wrong. It is great that they offer bespoke services to people who want or need to live alone. I’m 33 and there’s no way I would want to live in a house full of strangers so why should we expect people with complex needs to do that?"
Vicky Williams (F) with her colleagues using the sign for ‘good’ with makaton trainer, Trigger, (2nd L back row) who gave the group a taster session on using sign l…

Prader Willi - the constant urge to eat

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Tom was born with a rare genetic condition which means he is unable to stop eating. As a newborn he was adopted by a couple who describe their experience of caring for a child with complex needs.

Jeff and Lynn had fostered many children as well as bringing up four of their own and adopting two youngsters with Down Syndrome. The couple were told Tom has Prader Willi soon after he was born and although they had some experience caring for children with complex needs, they had no idea how he would develop and how his condition would impact on their family. “He was very floppy as a baby and had no coordination, classic signs of Prader Willi,” said Lynn, “He came into a very busy home life, he coped well until the age of 11 when things started to change.” 
As a result of his condition Tom has the constant urge to eat, which is driven by a permanent feeling of hunger which can lead to dangerous weight gain. It also causes restricted growth, poor muscle tone and behavioural problems, such as te…

Catatonia, a mother's perspective

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Tracey Mears is a mother with guts and determination. Thanks to her dogged perseverance in refusing to allow her son to slowly fade into the background unable to eat, speak or move, he is now facing a much brighter future. Ryan’s 21st birthday is looming but rather than celebrating this milestone his family are coming to terms with the devastating news that he has catatonia, a debilitating condition that will affect him for the rest of his life. Ryan, whose parents run a Cornish holiday park, was diagnosed with classic autism aged two which saw his needs dominating family life with his parents and siblings supporting him throughout his young days.
Tracey Mears, chairman of NAS West Cornwall Branch

His catatonia would have gone undetected if it were not for his mother’s concerns. She contacted health professionals across Cornwall trying to understand what was affecting her son, saying: “I believe Ryan’s catatonia started around 5-6 years ago. It is a very slow regression. People change b…

Green Light's new 'Communications Champion'

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Green Light is delighted to have its very own ‘Communications Leader’ working alongside our support staff to improve the way we communicate with one another and to highlight the amazing tools and gadgets that can bring new opportunities to the people that we support. Kerry Gardiner will be managing Penrose Farm, in Goonhavern, a home for six people with autism and other complex needs, when it opens next month. She has  taken on the communication leader role to ensure that Green Light’s staff have access to the right communication training and are aware of the latest tools and communication strategies that are available.   So far more than 100 people, from varying professions in Cornwall, have taken part in the free Communication Charter Training run by the speech and language team with the Cornwall partnership NHS Foundation Trust.  Green Light has signed up to the Communication Charter, with Kerry joining her first training session at the Brandon Trust office in Bodmin on October 9.
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Arriving at work when most people are settling in for the evening, Sue Sandy is one of Green Light’s treasured night owls. A former retail manager who joined us two years ago, she is a self-confessed ‘night person’ having more energy during the hours of darkness than in the mornings. Sue is a valued member of the support team based at Huthnance Park in Nancegollan, where she provides waking night support to the individuals living there. Operations manager, Hannah Lake said of the role: “It is a crucial job providing care to the people in our care who need support during the night either because of a medical condition, such as epilepsy, or because they may be unsettled and need the reassurance of having someone to support them.”
Sue, who left the retail industry because of the early starts each day, worked nights at a residential home in Truro before moving to Green Light, which provides support to adults with autism and other complex needs. She says of her current role: “It suits me b…

Green Light to open new home

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Work on adapting The Pines gathered pace when the builders, plumbers and electricians were joined by Debbie Smith who will be managing the home when it opens in October. Debbie, with the help of her new deputy manager, Vivien Huntington, and Green Light’s Sarah Miller and Kerry Noonan, got busy dressing the home in time for prospective families keen to see the new facilities this week. Despite being on maternity leave Debbie wanted to personally oversee the changes being made at The Pines and was happy to come in during the weekend to start furnishing the rooms and add the all important homely touches.

The Pines, based in Carharrack, offers a self-contained first floor flat and space for two further people on the ground floor with round the clock support.  Debbie is an experienced manager who helped launch Green Light’s Big Wig and Littlecroft homes in Holywell Bay. Looking forward to her new challenge, she said: “It’s a great opportunity. When I left Littlecroft and Big Wig they were …