Social Care and Neurodisability

ISSN: 2042-0919

Article publication date: 15 August 2011



Jenkins, D.K.G. (2011), "Forum", Social Care and Neurodisability, Vol. 2 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Forum From: Social Care and Neurodisability, Volume 2, Issue 3

Welcome to the Forum section of Social Care and Neurodisability, your opportunity to post responses to articles from previous issues and to raise awareness of forthcoming events, consultations, policy initiatives, etc. This edition of Forum has been compiled by Dr Keith G. Jenkins, who looks forward to your responses by e-mail or post.

Dr Keith G. Jenkins, CPsychol, CSci, National Brain Injury Centre, St Andrew’s Healthcare, Northampton, NN1 5DG, UK. Tel:+44 (0)1604 616767.E-mail:

“Challenging behaviour”

I am writing this edition of the Forum in the midst of media and public outrage at the abuse of people with a learning disability covertly filmed at a specialist unit, and featured in a BBC television programme. Those of you who saw the programme will have witnessed a catalogue of abuse, and this was apparently just a part of what was recorded on film whilst making the programme. I am sure that many of us working in neurodisability settings are sensitive to the challenges that we face and the need to manage our feelings and urges to “act out” in a professional way. It is, therefore, of great concern when what appears to be systematic abuse involving several individuals is exposed. What were they thinking? Where was their supervision? Where was the support to help avoid such things happening?

Clearly, working with individuals living with neurodisability can expose staff to “challenging behaviour”, such as verbal and physical abuse, that would perhaps be responded to very differently if encountered outside of work. However, whilst in work settings there is an expectation of professionalism, self-control and a caring response. Indeed, anything less than this directed towards an individual with a neurodisability could lead to prosecution and loss of employment. However, I would like to suggest a distinction can be drawn between the type of abusive interaction seen in the BBC programme, seemingly planful and involving several individuals and the reactive “abuse”, physical or verbal, that may be triggered in a tired, stressed carer working with inadequate support and facing aggressive behaviour. In the likely aftermath of the BBC exposé, we need to guard against seeing “abuse” as common, but may need to engage in discussion about how we can better support people to retain caring composure when working with “challenging behaviour”. We are engaged in what are sometimes called “Human Services”, and so in judging, managing and supporting each other let’s not forget that we are human.

The Department of Health Safeguarding Pages provide some useful resources at: and information on avoiding and managing abuse. Social Care TV features the topic too at:

Why not tell me how you feel about these issues or how your particular area of neurodisability is being affected.

Forthcoming events/announcements

London, 21 July 2011. Open Lecture – Goodman House Garden Research Lecture. Huntington’s disease is an inherited neuro-degenerative disease that causes disorders of movement, balance, behaviour and cognition. A garden has been replanted under the guidance of a horticulturist using a suitable ergonomic method of gardening. Residents have grown flowers and vegetables and, in the winter, done garden-related crafts, cooking and computer activities. The results of the research on this project will be presented. Free lecture open to everyone, but please contact Phili Denning on 020 8780 4500 x5140 or e-mail: if you plan to attend as places are limited.

Hinckley Island Hotel, Leicestershire, 12 September 2011. Headway 2011 Conference and Exhibition. For details see:

Bristol, 21-22 September 2011. The Fourth International Conference from The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust will look at the latest developments and strategies for the treatment and rehabilitation of people with acquired brain injury.

The first day’s plenary sessions will provide an opportunity to hear international speakers present their latest research and theories. Day two is devoted to symposia and practical “hands on” workshops, enabling delegates to participate in debate, discussion, learn new techniques and share good practice. Details at: or contact Frances Pitwell on 01924 224472 or e-mail:

London, 26 September 2011. Open Lecture – Assistive Technology for Complex Disability Communication and Control. This talk will explore the current role of assistive technology in helping people with complex disabilities to communicate, use a computer and have control over their environment. The talk will explore current practice, recent developments and possibilities for the future. Free lecture open to everyone, but please contact Phili Denning on 020 8780 4500 x5140 or e-mail: if you plan to attend as places are limited.

Derby, 13 October 2011. The Neuropsychiatry Service of St Andrew’s Healthcare, Northampton are organising a one day conference dealing with issues of violence and risk after brain injury. For details call 01604 616118.

Liverpool, 1-3 November 2011. The Sixth UK Dementia Congress will be held at the BT Convention Centre, Liverpool, a new venue for the event. It offers an exciting mix of plenary sessions, parallel session, workshops and posters as well as early bird and lunchtime special interest sessions. There will also be a dedicated Alzheimer’s Society stream. For details see:

Birmingham, 10 November 2011. United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum Annual Conference at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. Details at:

London, 17 November 2011. Open Lecture – Low Awareness States. Full details about this lecture will follow nearer the time. Free lecture open to everyone, but please contact Phili Denning on 020 8780 4500 x5140 or e-mail:, if you plan to attend as places are limited.

Edinburgh, 21-24 March 2012. The International Brain Injury Association’s Ninth World Congress. Details at:

Campaigning opportunities

Nine big shouts to the government from national voices

National Voices is the national charity coalition for health and social care. It aims to strengthen the voice of people who come into contact with the National Health Service (NHS) and care services, and of the voluntary organisations that work for them. Its broad membership, rooted in people’s experience, represents millions of people and covers a diverse range of health conditions and communities. It claims to be the only organised and representative national voice of the broad public interest in health and social care, and its events and campaigns do appear to attract political interest.

The nine key demands made by the patient, service user and carer movement, and pointing the way to solutions, nine “Big Shouts”, fed into the NHS Reforms Listening Exercise were:

  1. 1.

    Integration, integration, integration.

  2. 2.

    Right care, right place, right time.

  3. 3.

    Information and communication that work for us, now.

  4. 4.

    End paternalism.

  5. 5.

    No new lotteries – tackle inequalities.

  6. 6.

    Patients among a range of expert commissioners.

  7. 7.

    Proper governance and transparency.

  8. 8.

    Real involvement, with genuine influence.

  9. 9.

    Tell us when things go wrong.

To read the detail go to: “9 Big Shouts”.

There is currently some hope that the plans for NHS Reform will be modified. Do not miss any opportunities to have your “big shout” too.

To add your voice to National Voices check out their work on

And finally

If you have any questions or opinions that you would like to share with the wider neurodisability community, why not send them into Forum. I look forward to hearing from you.

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