We’re delighted to announce that Voyage Care has now opened its flagship brain injury rehabilitation (BIR) centre. Located in Manchester, Devonshire House is a unique 24-bed property. This service combines the rehabilitation process for an acquired brain injury and a new community hub, the Greater Manchester DCA.
After opening in January 2021, we caught up with Carly Dempsy, the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Operations Manager. Carly told us how they have been getting on at Devonshire House.
Can you tell me a little about your journey to get this flagship open?
Yes, we’re so excited! It’s our largest brain injury rehabilitation service that we have opened and will provide up to 60 full-time jobs! It has been quite a journey because once we had completed the purchase on the building, we had to focus on recruiting the right people. We worked on making it a homely place that anybody would like to live there. This included looking at the communal areas, soft furnishings and adapting rooms to suit the people we support – so there were lots of to-do lists!
There are three wings to the service, what do these do?
Traditionally our other brain injury services have up to 12 beds, whereas Devonshire House has a total of 24. This is because we’ve divided the service into three separate wings so the people we support can see and experience a clear rehabilitation pathway.
This is broken down into eight active rehabilitation beds, eight long stay beds and eight transitional flats, all on the ground floor. This enables us to meet the needs of the people we support wherever they might be on their rehabilitation journey. The transitional flats have their own separate entrance and have been designed to promote independence and community access.
What makes this service different from our other services?
This is a first for Voyage Care to purchase such a large property – 1.4 acres! But the size, location and condition of Devonshire House made it something that we just couldn’t pass up on.
Having this property means that we can provide a complete rehabilitation service, from discharge from a hospital through to community living. The main difference is that we are now able to provide long-stay accommodation for those looking to stay indefinitely, something that is regularly requested by our commissioners.
What is your favourite thing about this service?
Oh, that’s such a difficult question! I really love that it has this enclosed garden which wraps around the building. It has sensory areas and covered seating so I can imagine in the summer it would be the perfect place for a cuppa and a chat. I also like that although it’s a large building, there’s just a cosy feeling inside. The communal dining room is at the heart of the building, so you know it’ll be a sociable place.
I’ve heard many people comment on it being a good location, why is this?
We’ve seen a lot of demand for brain injury rehabilitation in the Manchester area, so it made a lot of sense to choose this location.
As part of our community-based rehabilitation, we like to support individuals to be part of the community.
With Devonshire House just a mile from Manchester city centre this provides opportunity for the people we support to be part of a vibrant city. It also has excellent public transport links and shops nearby. This means that once it is safe to do so, individuals can become involved with classes, shopping and social activities right on their doorstep.
Why did you take the decision to create a DCA at the same service?
The building has a ground floor and first floor. To ensure accessibility for the people we support, we have used the ground floor of Devonshire House for all of the rooms. These include transitional flats and communal areas such as our gym, therapy rooms and training kitchens. We wanted to maximise the use of the space within Devonshire House, and have received increased referrals for community based support within the Manchester, Trafford and Greater Manchester areas. The inclusion of the Greater Manchester DCA will extend the support we can offer to support the local authorities, CCG’s and private customers throughout the Greater Manchester and Trafford area.
How did you deal with the COVID-19 restrictions as you prepared to open Devonshire House and train staff?
We pride ourselves on having our team trained to the highest level and we were concerned that the COVID-19 restrictions could make this tough. Luckily the service is so spacious that we could do face-to-face training with the correct social distancing and wear personal protection equipment (PPE). This was also supported with virtual training by our brilliant Learning and Development team.
What has been the main challenge you faced?
The main challenge we have found is completing the assessments and the transition process to the service with the people we support. Normally we love to visit in person, meet their family and current team so we can really get to know them. Because of the current restrictions, this must be done remotely. This can make building a rapport tough for both us and the person we support. We have tried to embrace the wonders of technology though, such as personalised virtual tours and lots of Teams meetings to give them a feel of their new home…and of course us!
If you would like to find out more about Devonshire House, please visit our service webpage.