Behaviours that challenge can affect the quality of someone’s life following an ABI, while also impacting on the lives of their family and friends.

Speaking at a recent webinar for brain injury case managers and solicitors, Donald Graham, Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) Practitioner at Calvert Reconnections, described how the groundbreaking service integrates PBS as part of its wider ABI rehabilitation programme.

Donald, who joined Reconnections in October 2022 and has a Post Grad qualification in ‘Leading Positive Behaviour Support in Organisations’ from Northumbria University, explained how PBS emerged from Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) in the Learning Disability Field as a non-aversive behavioural model, taking the evidence-based approach of ABA and moving towards a more positive, quality of life PBS model of behavioural support.

Said Donald: “Effective PBS is person-centred and proactive, meaning it focuses on getting the environment right for the individual, rather than just reacting and responding to any behaviour that challenges.  At Reconnections, we blend person-centred values and behavioural science, using evidence to inform decision-making.  There is strong evidence that PBS is effective in producing positive outcomes, helping ABI survivors to communicate in a more effective and non-challenging way and increasing opportunities because of this intervention.

“Actively improving a person’s quality of life is a key PBS intervention. Part of the role of PBS is to develop a positive relationship with the new participant, get to know them and support them to complete a PBS Plan, which will go with them on the next step of their journey. Participants can expect to be an active or leading part of this process throughout their time at Reconnection. PBS works alongside the wider clinical team to develop a rehab plan and specific goals, helping participants to achieve meaningful outcomes as part of their rehabilitation.”

Calvert Reconnections offers a new approach to brain injury rehabilitation, combining cognitive and physical rehabilitation with vocational and outdoor activities delivered in a non-clinical environment. Activities range from reflective pursuits such as fishing, bird watching or a nature walk to higher adventure activities such as horse riding, canoeing, rock-climbing and abseiling – all closely assessed and graded to a person’s interests and functional abilities.

The centre has recently released its annual Clinical Outcomes Review. 

Highlights from the last 12 months include:

  • 80% of participants who identified independent living as a goal went on to achieve it.
  • The majority of participants (65%) progressed on to paid employment, vocational training, volunteering or community activity.
  • 100% of participants who completed the Individual Recovery Outcomes Counter (IROC) at admission and discharge, reported a maintained or improved hope for the future.  The IROC is a way to measure recovery.
  • 70% of participants who completed the IROC at admission and discharge reported an improved sense of purpose and direction in their life.

In other highlights, the average length of stay for participants was 14 weeks, while the centre saw a 150% increase in occupancy compared to 2022.

Commenting on Reconnections’ progress, Head of Service, Claire Appleton said: “Over the last 12 months, Calvert Reconnections has firmly established itself as an integral part of the ABI rehab community, welcoming more participants than ever before and achieving a wide-range of outstanding outcomes.

“As a service, we are constantly striving to expand the horizons of what’s possible with ABI rehabilitation.

“We are very aware that people with ABI can sometimes find the set procedures of neuro-rehabilitation too clinical, inflexible and impersonal. At Reconnections, our unique approach combines cognitive and physical rehabilitation with vocational and outdoor activities delivered within a unique non-clinical environment.  We support people to become the best they can be through an outstanding team including Neuro Occupational Therapists, Neuro Physiotherapists, Neuro Speech and Language Therapists, Neuro Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners and Rehabilitation Coaches.”