The team at Thornfield Grange in County Durham are celebrating after being awarded an accreditation from the National Autistic Society in recognition of its specialist support of people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The accreditation, known as Autism Accreditation, is an autism-specific quality assurance programme for those providing services to autistic people. The accreditation, which is recognised throughout the UK and across the world is a way for organisations to show they offer excellent support to those with an ASD.
Thornfield Grange is a care home that provides nursing support for up to nine men. The team have been working towards achieving accreditation since 2016 and the achievement recognises the person-centred and autism-focused nature of the service they provide.
Tracy Fee, Manager at Thornfield Grange, said: “Achieving this accreditation proves that Thornfield Grange is committed to understanding autism and setting the standard for autism practice.
“Staff across the whole of Thornfield Grange have worked extremely hard towards achieving this quality mark. We have been reviewing and developing our practice and constantly striving to offer the very best, most person-centred experience possible.”
Thornfield Grange has looked at all areas of practice to ensure each is focused on the individual being supported and their needs in the context of their ASD. This includes creating and enabling a huge range of activities, such as alpaca walking, accessible fishing and many others.
The environment at Thornfield Grange has also been developed, including the creation of a sensory garden. The team have worked with experts to create inside spaces that are low arousal and autism-friendly, embracing muted colour schemes and specialist soft furnishings and lighting.
Staff working at Thornfield Grange are also supported to be autism-aware from recruitment onwards with a specific induction plan and ongoing specialist training on sensory processing from the in-house occupational therapist. During the recruitment process, interview questions are specifically geared towards being sensitive to autism.
Tracy said: “Everyone has worked so hard – this is a very rigorous process and we’re delighted to have achieved the accreditation. We’re absolutely committed to making sure Thornfield Grange provides the very best in autism support.
“Practice at Thornfield has been adapted to support people most effectively and whilst we were already doing a good job, we wanted to look to where we could make improvements.
“The NAS framework has helped to steer us from good practice to excellent practice.”
The service had to fulfil a range of criteria and meet standards across four key areas including commitment and consultation, positive outcomes for the autistic person and sensory experiences.