Atlas House staff enjoy top flight Magpie Dance workshop

News photo: Participants of the Magpie Dance group

Staff from Oxleas’ Atlas House recently attended a workshop run by Bromley based Magpie Dance - an inclusive contemporary dance company that has carved out a national reputation for its exciting and inspiring approach to creative dance.

Founded in 1986 by Artistic Director, Avril Hitman, Magpie is at the forefront of dance for people with learning disabilities. Atlas House, based at Goldie Leigh, is an assessment and treatment unit for people who have a learning disability with challenging behaviour.

The session based on Oxleas’ values, focused on improving relationships with service users and carers, using dance as a learning experience.

The aim of the session was to look at using non verbal communication, based on trust and giving choices to service users. It was a stimulating session enabling staff to communicate using non verbal communication through various dance routines.

Following the session the team worked in groups to assess what is working well at Atlas regarding non verbal communication with people who have a learning disability as well as presenting with challenging behaviour. Emphasis was on building trust and giving choices.

The next task was to look at areas that needed improvement in order to provide the best care for patients at Atlas. These included staff training in signing, more accessible information and improved communication between patients and staff, thereby enhancing person centered care. According to Ward Administrator Sharon Rodrigues: “Staff felt it was an interesting workshop and came away feeling it was a constructive day.”

Based at The Churchill Theatre, Magpie Dance is accessible to all surrounding boroughs and can deliver workshops to any region in the UK. Avril Hitman, said: “The nurses did very well with the practical session and enjoyed it once they got into the work. I have suggested that a next step could be for Magpie to deliver a session with the patients at Atlas House, which one of the nurses suggested on their feedback form.”

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Published on 7th March 2011