Home Learning Disabilities & Autism The role of innovation in supported living delivery

The role of innovation in supported living delivery

by Lisa Carr

Lorna Durrant, Head of Specialist Strategies and Outcomes

It’s easy to think about technology or a never-before-seen project when someone mentions innovation, but it’s more than that at Eden Futures.

Yes, we have technological systems in place that support the ways we work but it’s how we use them to ensure people get the best support possible. For example, the Specialist Support Team analyse distress communication data to proactively support teams to prevent someone experiencing a crisis.

Practical innovation

We work in partnership with developers during the design and construction of new services, so environments are safer and more accessible for vulnerable people, by including assistive technology. It’s imperative that buildings don’t increase dependency or risks, utilising things like underfloor heating, anti-ligature fittings or integrated blinds can prevent this.

Innovative ways of working

We employ 1200 staff and provide care and support for 650 people across 170 sites. Innovation is equally important when applied to how we work. The constant application of new ideas and methods ensures positive outcomes for everyone.

We look at who people are, what they have to offer and if they have right values to work with us, not just what qualifications they have. We’re a learning organisation and invest in our staff through a culture of continuing professional development. This is more than formal training and qualifications. It’s leadership development, coaching and mentoring, opportunities to explore new concepts and to challenge the status quo. Eden Futures has been Investors in People accredited since 2006 with GOLD status since 2019.

We design and deliver leadership programmes developed in line with Skills for Care leadership standards to support skills development for leaders at all levels of the organisation. This includes aspiring leaders from the support worker cohort.  Lifetime Training assists with sector specific qualifications and apprenticeships with structured training programmes to attract and retain people to the sector.

We’re proud to have been approved by the BildACT as a Maybo affiliate organisation. We’ve continued to work closely with Maybo to create a L&D programme in PBS to further develop skills and knowledge of our leaders, and for them to become licensed trainers. This will create meaningful opportunities for ‘in the moment’ learning for our teams.

Expert innovation

Listening to the voices of those we support through our Expert Partner programme is true co-production.  Our experts help us understand what exceptional services should look like by challenging our thoughts. They participate in and lead interviews for all levels and functions in the organisation. They help us develop and review L&D sessions, sharing their own experiences of trauma and restrictive practices and give Toolbox Talks such as professional boundaries, responding to situations that challenge us, and validation.

N says: “Being an Expert Partner has helped me and saved my life from going round in circles in hospital, it’s given me a focus and something to do and use my experiences to help future things.”

S presented to 600 people at The Learning Disabilities and Autism Open Forum event.  Co-presenting with our CEO, he offered a unique insight by sharing his thoughts about his experiences of sitting on the CQC Expert Advisory Panel for Closed Cultures. The project looks at how the CQC checks for, and tackles, closed cultures in services during inspections. It’s produced new guidance on closed cultures to better identify and respond to services that might be at risk.

In truth I don’t see what we do and how we do it as different or innovative, it’s just what we do. Our focus is always about people getting the right support from the right people and having the same opportunities in life as everyone else.  Isn’t that what supported living is?


Related Articles