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Introduction to Avens

Avens Ltd and its sister company Avens Supported Living Ltd has been providing care to Younger Adults with Learning Disabilities since 1994. We at Avens are very proud to state that we are service user / customer focused. At Avens we look at all of our existing and potential customers as individuals and as such we do our utmost to meet the unique needs every individual will have.

Avens cares for individuals who may be labelled in the following categories, however we do not look at the label, we look at the individual first and the label second!

Whatever label an individual is given we at Avens ensure that we provide a plan of care that meets the customer’s individual needs. This is achieved by asking two very simple questions, ‘What’s important to me?’ and ‘What’s important for me?’

By ensuring that each customer has a plan of care that meets their unique needs we can support the customer to achieve the following:

The following questions were put to Chris Andrews, Managing Director of Avens Ltd:

What was your identified training need?

‘For anyone who is reading this statement, who knows me, will know how embarrassed I am to state the truth in this matter. When I was a care assistant fifteen years ago, within a care home I was asked to pin a female customer to the ground while PRN medication was administered. This upset me so much I resigned, however the owner of Avens Ltd at that time asked to speak to me. The owner refused to accept my resignation and asked that I become part of the solution and not part of the problem. In such I was motivated to identify a training method that would show staff a better way to deal with an individual who may exhibit behaviours that challenge the service we are trying to provide. I was lucky enough to discover NAPPI Uk and the partnership between Avens and NAPPI Uk was created’.

‘For those who don’t know me, let me state for the record, the owner reported this incident immediately, it was investigated by what was then the Inspection Unit. It was the owner’s decision to take action against the then homes manager who was relieved of the role they held within Avens’.

Why did you choose NAPPI?

‘Please remember this was 1999, there are only a handful of other Health & Social Care Providers with a longer association with NAPPI Uk than Avens Ltd. In truth why did I choose NAPPI Uk, well as stated above the inspection unit from East Sussex County Council were investigating our processes at this time and they also run training sessions known as SCIP (Strategy for Crisis Intervention and Prevention), and I was not over impressed with the local authority. I will not lie, the name NAPPI amused me, at first I wanted to know why an incontinence programme had to do with ‘Challenging Behaviour’. I wish some fourteen years later, I could tell you who I spoke to in NAPPI Uk, because I was so impressed by what they told me, I booked training for all staff there and then. I can tell you it was a lady and I truly believe it was Helen Tait Managing Director of NAPPI Uk, who else could be that passionate about care’!

What difference has NAPPI made?

‘Where do I start, let’s go back to 1999 when NAPPI Uk delivered training to all staff working at that time in our one care home. Staff learnt that Adults with Learning Disabilities may exhibit behaviour that will challenge the service they as staff are trying to provide, however NAPPI made them aware it was them as staff that needed to change! Staff learnt to stay ‘SMART’, recognise differing levels of behaviour, what the secondary message is and how they should respond to such behaviours via the ‘Lalemand Behaviour Scale’, staff gained skills in how to be generally aware via the ‘General Awareness’ module and staff learned skills in ‘Generating Cooperation’.

What I learnt was that these easy to learn psychological skills provided staff with a safety net of twenty minutes i.e. staff could recognise behaviours that could become challenging in advance. NAPPI at this time showed the staff very useful Physical Skills, namely Grab Release, X-Shield and Full Capture Restraint.

The training in 1999 was so well received that within the next year I was chosen to be trained as a trainer of trainers. I returned to the care home and provided NAPPI training to all staff twice yearly. As a result within five years incidents of behaviours exhibited by service users that lead to injuries, both psychological and physical injuries, had been reduced by 97%. The service users, of which there were twenty-eight, were the same service users, with the same potential to become challenging. The change was within the staff levels of confidence, their abilities to stay SMART, recognise Behaviours and Generate Cooperation made the home and working environment as Safer place to live in and work in!

So it’s now 2013, Avens now has two large residential care homes and fifteen supported living houses, we care for in excess 100 service users / customers and employs in excess 180 staff. I no longer actively train NAPPI, however I have been replaced by two great Avens NAPPI trainer’s Clair & Magda. The real difference today is that they no longer at this time train ‘Physical Interventions’ as there is no need, NAPPI (Psychological Interventions) is in-grained into staff, they prefer the twenty minutes of safety!

What is as important in answering the question ‘What Difference has NAPPI made’? is an industry that is regulated, in which staff training is paramount and that training must be creditable. Via NAPPI Uk, Avens Ltd has two trainers in Clair & Magda who offer training to Avens staff in the following, all of which is certificated by NAPPI UK’:

  • Non Abusive Psychological Physical Interventions (NAPPI)
  • Safeguarding
  • Mental Capacity Act & Deprivation of Liberties Safeguarding (MCA & DOLs)
  • Autism
  • Mental Health
  • Moving & Handling
  • End of Life Care
  • Dementia

‘I would like to add that both Clair & Magda have completed with NAPPI UK their Preparing To Teach in the Lifelong Sector (PTLS) and are both, again with NAPPI Uk, in the process of completing their Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Sector (CTLLS)’.

‘So what does NAPPI Uk do for Avens Ltd, so much it’s so difficult to measure, it is a working partnership that in the fourteen years has provided ‘Staff Safety’. I have worked with Avens for nearly twenty years and one of my proudest moments in those twenty years was when Helen Tait presented me a ‘NAPPI Centre of Excellence Award’. ‘Thank you NAPPI Uk, here’s to the next fourteen years of our partnership’.

Statement from Avens Ltd Tenant:

‘Hi, my name is James, I am a customer of Avens, and I am told that I have Bi-polar, Learning Disability, Autism and ADHD, I am not sure what this really means. I have lived in supported living for nearly seven years, at first I found it very difficult, I did not like taking my medication, I did not like the staff telling me to take my medication. I know now that I was very difficult to live with and care for, I shared a house with four other men, they were ok, but I wanted my own space. I cannot remember exactly when things started to change for me, but I do remember talking with my care staff, my agency manager and the staff trainer. My care staff, the management and the trainer invited me to a training session at which I helped my staff to understand how I like to Relax, how I like to feel Productive and where I feel I Belong. The trainer, Clair told me that this is my NAPPI ‘Green Behaviour Scale’. Within weeks of speaking with my staff I had a new house that is three bedded and at this time I share with one other chap, who is my friend, I have a job five days a week doing maintenance for all the supported houses that Avens provides support and I get paid! I still have bad days but my staff soon get me back on track’.

NAPPI uk Ltd, 64 Falsgrave Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO12 5AX

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