Blueprint For Personalised Care & Support
Dimensions - Buddies
Dimensions provide services for people with learning disabilities. They offer a range of services to young people and adults of all ages, including those with complex needs or challenging behavior. Dimensions aim is to be connected, keep families involved and keep it personal for the children and young people we support.
The design of Buddies was inspired by working with children, their families and actively listening to what it was they wanted and needed which includes varied short breaks during all periods. The Buddies@Home project is to facilitate families to have real short breaks by offering a responsive and timely service, demonstrating our commitment to inclusive practice, working in partnership with families and actively listening to their views.
Buddies@Home approach is to work in partnership with families and we encourage families to inform us in what type of activities their child would like to take part in, or try for the first time. Individual profiles documenting the children's progress is a continuous theme as is the encouragement of/commitment to two-way communications between the Buddies team, the children and their families e.g. the information shared with parents/carers/buddies during handover periods.
When providing school holiday clubs, families stipulated they required support outside of school holidays, in particular certain periods of the day, e.g. after school or bedtime. They stated they would benefit from support in the home by having advice and guidance in setting routines, boundaries and enabling families to engage with other siblings whilst knowing their disabled child is developing, gaining independence and most importantly having fun.
We have developed a parent/carers evaluation of service delivery to develop and maintain relationships and continuously improve the services we are providing. Additional is the review framework to monitor outcomes progress, part of this process is to document families' views and ensure involvement in short break provision. Evidence is also collated through learning logs and daily diaries. Networking opportunities are encouraged through our coffee mornings, family focus groups and other networking events.
Dimensions Buddies, Child and Family Development manager met with Local authority Children with Disabilities teams, Primary Care Trusts and local voluntary organisations. The CFDM raised the profile of the proposed service with relevant professionals, promoting the benefits of the service and communicating availability and capacity to take referrals.
Often Buddies@Home is provided in term time to compliment the short break provision which occurs throughout school holidays, therefore Buddies staff are available to work in term time and provide the outcomes focused support in a timely fashion.
Methods used for partnership development - Buddies@Home
- Local family network forums.
- Coffee mornings prior to each Buddies holiday club.
- Communication books.
- Profiles to agree outcomes using person centered tools.
- Active support.
- Feedback questionnaires.
We approached Suffolk County Council with this feedback and they agreed there was a need for families to have specific outcomes focused support. Buddies@Home was developed and consists of, up to 30 hours a week of 8 weeks support per family. Each session is tailored to the child's identified needs, e.g. to enable the child to established a sleep routine or providing additional support to the child before/after school at home/out in the community.
Each session will be committed to striving towards achieving the desired outcomes, previously agreed, for the child and their family. Activities will take place during the provision of support dependent on what the needs and outcomes are, i.e. swimming may be factored in due to health problems, shopping may be a part of the plan to promote independence, accessing the local youth club, to encourage mixing with their peers. Staff who work within the Buddies@Home service will provide support to the children in line with Every Child Matters Outcomes Framework.
We focus on the following: Be healthy, Stay safe, Enjoy and achieve, Make a positive contribution, Achieve economic well being.
We aim for each family to have identified outcomes to achieve over 8 weeks with review periods every 2 weeks.
Review framework to measure outcomes are:
- Week 2 -What am I pleased about/concerned about?
- Week 4 -What I have tried and learnt?
- Week 6- What will I do next and share learning?
- Week 8 -Outcomes met/further input required?
We are particularly interested to know how this played out with local commissioners
- Kevin Filby Project leader Scope Suffolk Aiming High feedback 1st October 2010
"Activities Unlimited are excited by this new model as offering unique time-limited support and intervention for families most in need. We believe it to be a unique approach, but one that will deliver positive outcomes for our families, as well as being responsive and cost effective. We are working closely with Dimensions to review progress and will be looking to evidence feedback from them as the provider, but also the service user's who have chosen this service as part of their support package."
- Triple R Gold star award/status confirmation letter Suffolk Aiming High.
To capture outcomes achieved and improvements, we have used a person centered tool 4+2 as our framework to answer the question. We use this tool during Buddies@Home provision as described above.
What outcomes were achieved
- The positive outcomes we have supported families to achieve and their feedback on the services we provide.
- The significant interest we have had from within Essex and Suffolk and varied referral sources that have approached us to provide services to families they currently work with.
- We have built a wide stretching organisational resource base to be in a position to sign post families to other family orientated organisations.
- We have built a robust reputation based on the quality services we provide through using a highly skilled staff work force, through their dedication, value base and belief in Buddies@Home
Professional boundaries between families and the Buddiesstaffis required to be on a purely professionalbasis to ensure consistency and continuity. Buddies staff become part of the family throughout this period and will be working within the families homes. Families are key to service design and delivery through listening and acting upon their non-negotiables. Through children being supported to complete their own Buddies passport (information tool) they have autonomy of their service, support the decision making process to define outcomes to be achieved and through this approach children are valued and have ownership of their Buddies@Home service.
Through meeting with local voluntary groups we describe how buddies@home benefits and improves the lives of families. Organisations we have shared with are:
- Autism Anglia.
- A list Colchester.
- Contact a family.
- Families in focus Essex.
- Essex parent partnership.
- Suffolk children with additional needs teams.
- Essex child and adolescent mental health teams.
Dimensions think the project is sustainable as families want support and guidance to improve family situations and see their disabled children achieve. Situations are often very complex and to have 8 weeks of outcomes focused support which has a long term impact, long after Buddies@Home provision has ended. Therefore reducing risks of family breaks down and crisis situations developing.
Please consider staff time (including type of practitioner), direct overheads (including travel and training costs), the running costs of buildings, indirect overheads (such as finance and human resources) and capital costs. We are also interested to hear of any support you received from local commissioners to make this happen and how effective this was.
- Direct resource 37.5 Child and Family Development Manager
- In direct resource10 hrs per week Regional Director
- Received funding from Suffolk Aiming High
- Received support from Scope Brokerage- Activities Unlimited
- Received support from Suffolk CWAN teams
- 100 hours of profiling (2 hours per family) from CFDM.
- Provided 630 hours of Buddies@Home support
- Hr and LD to recruit and induct new Buddies staff
Through the ongoing success of this innovative model we are sharing Buddies@home with several local authorities who are developing their children short breaks service.
For further information see the Dimensions website: