Chesterfield-based Heathcotes Group is introducing an innovation in care provision, with the development of an Intensive Support Team (IST) providing a dedicated clinical resource across the organisation’s 72 residential services for individuals with learning disabilities and mental health needs.
The new multidisciplinary IST will include a consultant clinical psychologist, three assistant psychologists, a specialist occupational therapist, a specialist mental health nurse and three Positive Behaviour Support practitioners. Headed by Heathcotes’ Head of psychology and clinical director, Dr Peter Burbidge, the team will operate group-wide to provide expert clinical input and reinforce compliance with the Restraint Reduction Network (RNN) Training Standards, a sector-wide programme to reduce restrictive practices which will be implemented via commissioning requirements and Care Quality Commission inspection frameworks from April 2020.
Heathcotes’ director of business development, Natalia Lysiuk, said:
“This is an exciting initiative based on some excellent work by a project team from our Senior Leadership Team; Dr Peter Burbidge, Tracy Johnson and myself. The IST will put Heathcotes at the forefront of specialist providers in the UK and will enable us to significantly enhance the resource available to our services, assisting the work they do to improve the lives of the people we support. The team will take on a wide-ranging remit, but one of its most vital functions is the professional support it provides when a high level of specialist expertise and clinical input are critical. This would include the admission of an emergency placement or a very complex individual, a service user going through a crisis, a placement at risk of breaking down and the need for a functional assessment or Positive Behaviour Support plan.
“Being a specialist provider brings with it some additional responsibilities, which we take very seriously. That’s why we have introduced the IST – having it readily available within the organisation will be an extremely valuable resource for our Service Managers, our service users and our wider stakeholders.”
Dr Peter Burbidge said:
“The IST will provide training, consultation, supervision, functional analysis and interventions for services that need specialist input or multi-disciplinary work. It will also provide brief therapeutic interventions where appropriate. We hope that, by developing the IST, we will be able to support services to provide placements for more complex clients, and to provide additional support when people are in crisis As a clinical team, we plan to work alongside the local community, mental health and learning disability teams, where they are involved or are commissioned, and to provide more concentrated input where we are not able to access support from local services.”
Dr Peter Burbidge is already working in a supportive role across Heathcotes services, with a team of two Assistance Psychologists and a Specialist Occupational Therapist in place. They currently deliver specialist training, consultation and supervision to services with complex clients alongside direct one-to-one therapy with complex clients. Heathcotes is currently working on recruitment for the other roles within the IST, and the development of referral guidelines, policies and procedures to support the team. The company plans to have a full IST in place by early summer.