Seeing smiles of our service users is special

Xmas open day arbd

Social care worker Dan Mushens talks about the benefits of having relaxed events for those who may struggle to maintain relationships

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10th January 2019 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

The social and personal networks of those diagnosed with alcohol related brain damage can often be affected two-fold. Firstly, because the harsh years of alcohol addiction and associated chaos, tends to lead to the breakdown or at least puts a strain on any relationships and friendships.

Secondly, when someone is living with ARBD, presentations such as social withdrawal, anxiety, apathy and a general lack of interest and motivation often becomes apparent further hindering opportunities to maintain relationships.

With this in mind, the open days we host each summer and winter offer a vital opportunity for supported people, healthcare professionals and family members to come together informally and purely for recreational and social purposes.

Building on the success of our open day last summer, 13 December saw our ARBD Supported Accommodation Service in Glasgow open its doors to family, friends, colleagues and the wider community.

Staff and residents worked tirelessly during the run up to the big day with the homemade mince pies and shortbread going down a treat. Handcrafted Christmas cards and gifts were also available to buy with a generous selection of prizes on offer for the raffle, all donated by local businesses.

Dan Mushens

Dan Mushens

Extremely talented musicians Kenny Miller and Joe McGuire were drafted in to provide the music for a Christmas carol sing-a-long with the Twelve Days of Christmas proving to be a hit. Everyone joined in and to see smiles on faces of people who may not smile so often was a wonderful sight to see.

Recovery from ARBD might involve regular review meetings with social work, psychiatry, or addiction services, which is an important aspect of the care and support we provide. However, these meetings can sometimes be the only time family members engage with a service, so any input outwith these formal settings can be a great method of breaking down any perceived barriers.

In addition, staffing within our service has seen a big overhaul over the last twelve months and we now have a great blend of youth and experience with diverse backgrounds to draw upon. This open day acted as an opportunity to further increase staff morale and team bonding.

Support manager Alison Garrow has managed both the Penumbra Glasgow Supported Accommodation and the Supported Living services for three years, and says open days also have another benefit. “Auditing the quality of the services we deliver is a key part of my role and the feedback received from an open day can be a robust way of evidencing this”.

Feedback was plentiful and overwhelming with comments such as ‘what a lovely warm welcome, clear to see the hard work that's gone into today’ as well as ‘fabulous food and singing, what a warm and welcoming service’. 

We have an ambitious and conscientious staff team working across our two services and at present, we are eagerly awaiting the grading from our recent Care Inspectorate visit, which will hopefully reflect this.

Dan Mushens is a recovery practitioner for Scottish mental health charity Penumbra and works at the charity’s Glasgow ARBD services