Healthy Lives – Positive Behaviour Support

Positive behaviour support

There is more to truly good support than just meeting standard care needs. The commitment Home From Home Care makes to Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is just one of the reasons our support is exemplary.

The first article in this series takes a glimpse behind the scenes to show how we use PBS to ensure the individuals in our care can lead active, healthy lives.

Motivation to exercise and making changes to our diet can be a struggle for all of us, but particularly if you have poor comprehension of the long-term benefits of exercise. Shaun Tuohy, one of our Positive Behaviour Support partners, is inspiring the people we support to increase their activity level and improve their fitness by finding personalised activities which are fun and motivating.

“Exercise is not just about fitness and health, that is obviously integral, but seeing confidence, happiness and emotional wellbeing build in an individual is why I reallly love my job” comments Shaun. “Home From Home Care have given me a wonderful and unique opportunity to be able to combine my many years of support experience, with my passion and knowledge of diet and fitness, to provide real value for the individuals we support.”

Inspiring people to exercise can be challenging. Shaun finds engaging ways to increase movement and build muscle mass tailored to each individual. Activities such as making ice cream may be an unusual exercise tool but with the motivation of a bowl of ice cream at the end, shaking the ingredients by hand until you have created the frozen treat is harder work than it looks. Sharing the homemade ice cream at the end can also promote social connections.

Throwing and catching a ball is an easy game to play, but by using weighted medicine balls this becomes a game that also promotes muscle growth. Using battle ropes can also be an entertaining way of building muscle mass and improving core strength. Similarly, resistance bands can be used whilst seated, to help those with poor mobility.

Combining a personalised exercise plan with a healthy eating plan, considering individual food preferences, is also vital. Working closely with each individual to develop a customised diet plan, Shaun creates a balanced menu that supports their choices and targets their health needs. Simple recipes are created that can followed by all, giving the opportunity to learn to cook meals together.

A key aspect of menu planning is effective use of communication for each person’s level of ability, including using sign language, Makaton or the picture exchange communication system (PECS). By using creative solutions that meet communication needs, individuals gain more independence. For instance, using picture cards to plan a week’s menu allows an individual to be fully in control of their choices but also leads to an increase in their skills – by planning meals, creating a shopping list then being supported to do their own shopping. By using a limited number of each picture card, an individual can be supported to also increase the variety of meals.

The results of Shaun’s work are ongoing but have been impressive – including work with two young women and their support teams to help them lose a combined total of over 7 stone. Shaun modelled behaviours and helped to improve knowledge within the staff team to make this change long lasting, “The difference for those individuals has been enormous. Improving body confidence and developing greater community links by joining a local diet group really feeds into someone’s sense of self worth.”

Such approaches can help to engage individuals meaningfully, reducing identified health risks and helping them to make healthy lifestyle choices. At Home From Home Care we are continuing to promote healthy living throughout the organisation and advance the use of Positive Behaviour Support to improve outcomes for every individual.

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