Brain Injury Care Provider

Jon* – helping our client with Motor Neurone Disease to return to his family home

The team have been nothing short of fantastic. They have not only enabled Jon to return home, but they have also relieved me of the constant worry of caring for my husband. I can now go to work or take a few hours out, safe in the knowledge that Jon is being expertly cared for.

(*All names have been changed to protect our client and his family’s identity)

Jon* was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in July 2020. Initially, his illness progressed gradually but, in the summer of 2021, he returned from holiday and was feeling very unwell. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia but, just three days later, suffered a massive seizure at home and was rushed to hospital.

His wife, Jo*, explained: “I really thought at that point that I was going to lose Jon. His oxygen levels had plummeted to just 46% and he was put in a medically induced coma.”

Jon subsequently underwent a tracheostomy to help him breathe and he spent a further six months on a respiratory ward before he was deemed medically stable.

At this point his family, with help from his hospital care team, began searching for at-home care providers to allow Jon to return home once again.

“It was something we all desperately wanted to get sorted out because, in hospital, Jon was missing out on family life and all the little milestones that he should have been experiencing with our two children growing up and starting new schools,” said Jo.

“Initially we lined up a care provider but they had problems with recruitment and guaranteeing continuity of care.

“The hospital was aware of Almond Care who had helped provide care for another MND patient so we spoke to Julia, Louise and the team and they very quickly got things moving.”

In total, Almond Care put in place a of team of eight specialist carers including 24/7 live-in care. The team ensured that all the required specialist equipment was in place ready to welcome Jon home.

Jo continued: “The team have been nothing short of fantastic. They have not only enabled Jon to return home but they have also relieved me of the constant worry of caring for my husband. I can now go to work or take a few hours out, safe in the knowledge that Jon is being expertly cared for.”

Jo is also full of praise for the quick-thinking care team who helped Jon when he again succumbed to pneumonia. “With his respiratory problems, pneumonia is always a concern and whilst we were waiting for an ambulance to come, Jon went into respiratory distress and stopped breathing.

“The care team just sprang into action. They bagged him and kept him alive until the ambulance arrived. I think if it hadn’t been for them, Jon wouldn’t be with us now, “said Jo.

“It really speaks volumes for the care team we have in place, “ she added. “They are very level-headed and know exactly what to do in a crisis. We are all very grateful indeed for the support they provide.”

Mrs D – Spinal injury

I was very grateful to Almond Care for being able and willing to respond swiftly to my mother’s needs for an overnight sitter when she had an undiagnosed fracture to her spine and pelvis after a fall, and was understandably feeling more and more unwell.

Due to the lack of diagnosis mum was not receiving the care she needed overnight from anywhere else, and we realised she needed more support – and fast. A week of night sitters at very little notice provided by Almond Care was therefore a really integral step in her recovery, which gave us time to find and set up an emergency stay in a nursing home to take her on the next step of her recovery before she could move back to independent living in a newly supportive environment. I am glad that she is now definitely on the mend and I was very grateful indeed to Almond Care for stepping into the gap! Not only did you look after her, you cared for a worried son and daughter by helping mum out in this way. Thank you.

Theophilus – spinal injury

After suffering a spinal injury in 2013, Theophilus was left tetraplegic and requiring complex care at home.

A fiercely independent gentleman, ‘TS’ as he was known to friends, was looked after by a series of care providers.

His daughter, Samantha explains: “Dad deserved the very best care but unfortunately we had to part company with a number of carers who fell far short of the standards we expected.

“In 2018 we became very unhappy with the care provider we had in place. Standards had slipped so I started searching for another company.

“I got in touch with quite a few and actually found Almond Care via an internet search. As soon as I spoke to the team there I felt reassured that they were very different to the other care providers I’d experienced.

“They asked lots of questions about dad’s care needs and put together a tailored package of care for him.

“They recruited carers local to us in Hampshire and each member of the care team went through a rigorous training programme led by an Almond Care complex care nurse.

“We were very impressed, not only with the level of clinical knowledge the team displayed but also the fact that they really cared.

“It was clear to us that the Almond Care team view what they do as far more than just a job. They put dad’s personal needs at the heart of everything they did.

“They built a really good rapport with him and would sit and chat with him, play cards, take him on outings and help cook meals. Although we had employed a cleaner to look after dad’s home, the carers even tidied up and did some of the housework – they really went beyond the call of duty.

“I know that dad really appreciated having them around. Every morning and afternoon I would call in to see him and it was great to hear dad laughing and joking with his carers – it was like they were an extension of our family.

“I also appreciated the fact that Almond Care never left us in the lurch. On the odd occasion that one of the care team was off sick, Almond’s care co-ordinator, Calvin, would step in and personally drive down to Hampshire and provide care himself.

“I think that speaks volumes about Almond Care. They provided dad with excellent care with a personal touch – and most importantly, they always did what they said they would and made sure dad was comfortable and well looked after in his own home.” 

Almond Care provided 24-hour, at-home care to Theophilus for 11 months, from December 2018. His clinical care provision included tracheostomy care, suctioning and, on occasion, PEG feeding, as well as all personal care.

Sadly, Theophilus passed away in November 2019 at the age of 70. We are grateful to his family for generously agreeing to share their experience of Almond Care.

Wendy Hawkins – Working on behalf of a client with traumatic brain injury and locked-in syndrome

Wendy Hawkins is a Brain Injury Case Manager for CA Case Management Ltd. Here she explains how Almond Care helped her to put in place a package of care, on behalf of a client who has a severe brain injury and now needs around the clock care at home.

I provide case management to a lady. My client requires complex care around the clock and her family were desperate to move her from a nursing home to live with them in an adapted family home.

Included in my remit was the challenge to ensure an appropriate high calibre trained and responsive care package to meet the needs of not only my client but her family too.

This, as it turned out, was easier said than done! The first care provider I got in touch with sounded ideal. Then, in the middle of negotiations, the owner of the company went AWOL! Suddenly I was getting no response to my emails and my calls weren’t being returned.

So, I began the process all over again. This time, care provider number two passed all the initial checks but when I asked to meet the nurse with overall responsibility for my client’s care, alarm bells started to ring. As I went through the care plan including equipment provision, the nurse commented that she was “fairly certain she could remember how they all worked!”

Back to the drawing board and this time, following a recommendation from a case management colleague I got in touch with Almond Care. From my initial dealings with the directors, I felt confident that the Almond Care team were aware of the challenges and would be able to provide the package of care required

In fact, Almond Care exceeded my expectations and with the housing  adaptations and Almond Care’s nursing and specialist care team in place, my client was finally able to transfer safely from a nursing home to her own home with her family.

The team from Almond Care have been amazing and special mention must go to Justine, the lead nurse specialist. She is highly skilled and has a lovely manner, which is calm and reassuring. She is also a natural leader and has trained the specialist support worker care team so we have a skilled, trained responsive highly professional team.

There have been so many occasions when Justine’s expertise and cool head have averted a crisis.

Having the Almond Care team in place has provided client’s family with peace of mind.

My client receives the best possible complex nursing care in her own home and when, on occasion, she needs to go back into hospital for treatment, the Almond team are by her side – accompanying her to ensure that she receives seamless continuity of care.


Almond Care responded brilliantly to our urgent request for respite care. The carer provided was just what we needed. Overall a friendly and efficient service which we would use again

Jean Simpsons

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking Dad on as a client and for all the care that you took in employing exactly the right carers to meet his needs. He was always happy at home and I could relax in the confidence that the carers would sort any appointments or emergencies that arose in my absence

Kieran* – IV Therapy

Our son required 10 months of continued IV antibiotics treatment to be administered at home every 6 hours. Almond Care were the only agency available to support the demands of this regime at night by providing a qualified nurse able to compound and administer IVs at home for 3 nights a week. This was done on the basis of an NHS referral (commissioning) and provided much needed respite to me, as I was administering most of the home IVs myself.

The IV treatment regime was very demanding and being able to get 3 normal nights of sleep most weeks made a great difference. It helped me carry on for the remainder of each week and ultimately contributed to our son being able to stay at home and go to school as opposed to staying in hospital for months, despite his treatment. It was a precious and much needed professional help delivered by well qualified and friendly nurses.

Linda – Dementia

Linda knows her mother Manuela’s care needs better than anyone. Manuela, now in her late 80s, developed dementia in her early 70s and Linda spent 13 years as her carer, while juggling life between her mother’s home in the Midlands, her own home and family in the South East of England, plus work and study commitments.

So when Linda began a long campaign to win NHS continuing healthcare funding to support her mother, she was very clear about what she was looking for as the end result: “I wanted my mother looked after the way I look after her.”

Now, with Almond Care providing a 24-hour care package, Linda is more than happy with the support Manuela is receiving, saying: “They have been brilliant.”

Manuela has a complex range of health needs, alongside the dementia that can result in unpredictable behaviour and hallucinations, which can leave her very distressed. While mobile, and fast-moving, she is at risk of falls and also has a heart condition, diabetes and suffers transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs), or mini strokes.

Linda found out about NHS continuing healthcare – designed to support people with “substantial and ongoing care needs” outside hospital – by chance, at a dementia conference she attended.

After her mother became very ill in June 2014 and had to spend time in hospital, Linda prepared a proposal for continuing healthcare funding that was finally approved, and Almond Care commissioned to provide Manuela’s care package, by the end of that year.

A further complication in Manuela’s care is that she requires bilingual carers. Originally a French speaker, she also speaks Spanish and although she has lived in the UK since the 1950s, she does not now always understand English.

While the recruitment process was challenging, Almond Care now has a regular team of six carers, all but one of whom speaks a second language, who provide Manuela’s support on a rota of days and waking night shifts.

Linda is very clear about what she wants from her mother’s care – that she enjoys the best possible quality of life, that she is kept safe, that her dignity is maintained and she is treated with respect.

Those priorities, and her close involvement in her mother’s care over the years, mean she has had no hesitation in asking for adjustments to Manuela’s care plan where she felt they were needed and has been quick to contact the Almond Care office over any issues or concerns.

Now she says: “I cannot say a bad word about Almond Care – they have been brilliant. There have been very few problems and any issues have been dealt with promptly. I feel the Almond Care is working actively with me and overall it has been an excellent experience.”

Matthew’s* story – Clinical negligence resulting in brain injury

Matthew* was a happy and healthy nine-year-old, who excelled at school and had a real zest for life. However, his life changed irrevocably when, in August 2011, he was admitted to hospital for an appendectomy.

The operation itself was a complete success but, during recovery, things did not go to plan. Matthew was unresponsive and was having trouble breathing but, despite this, the decision was taken to send him back up to the ward with a young, fairly inexperienced nurse and without monitoring equipment.

His mother, Catherine*, recalls: “His nostrils were flaring and there were signs that something was wrong but I presumed – wrongly as it turned out – that the doctors and nurses were in full control.  On arrival at the ward, the young nurse told a more senior nurse to go on her break and proceeded to try to attach a SATs probe to every finger and toe, but she couldn’t find Matthew’s pulse. As I looked on I thought – “he’s not breathing!” but, again, thought that she must know what she was doing” The nurse then began to panic and called the crash team, but she failed to properly monitor the time she called them or how long they took to reach Matthew .

When the crash team arrived, it took them a further 6 minutes to find the adrenalin. By the time Matthew was finally resuscitated he had suffered catastrophic brain damage.

Matthew was placed in intensive care in an induced coma where he remained for many weeks in an attempt to allow his brain to recover. Sadly this was to no avail and when he finally regained consciousness it was clear that the extent of his brain injury was extremely severe and permanent.

Catherine and her husband Adam* were advised by a senior consultant to take legal action which is still ongoing. They quite quickly received a full admission of liability from the hospital which, during the course of investigations, discovered that Matthew’s brain injury occurred due to a basic error in the operating theatre recovery room.

Catherine explained: “The anaesthetist failed to flush Matthew’s cannula to remove any leftover anaesthetic.  The error was then compounded because, rather than checking whether or not he was conscious and responsive, he was sent back to the ward. When the nurse, on the darkened ward, went to flush the cannula she overdosed him.

“The hospital was not able to say with certainty how long his heart and lungs had stopped but they estimate it was somewhere between 8 and 25 minutes.”

Permanent brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur as soon as 4 to 6 minutes later, so it was against all odds that Matthew even survived.

Matthew spent many months in hospital and specialist rehabilitation units during which time Catherine and Adam set about finding a new home that could be specially adapted for their son’s very complex care needs. They finally found a suitable property for conversion, back in their home town, amongst friends.  The extent of Matthew’s injuries means that he needs a full-time specialist care team to look after his complex needs.

Catherine continued: “Matthew is now 14-years-old but cannot do anything for himself. He is not able to sit up or support himself, his vision has been severely affected, he cannot speak, he has a tracheostomy and he is unable to eat solid food so needs to be PEG tube fed. He has a humidifier attached to his tracheostomy at night and has to wear pads. He also sometimes requires oxygen. We are not certain how he has been affected cognitively although I fervently believe that he can hear and understand us.”

Finding a care team who could properly manage Matthew’s care needs was initially a frustrating process.

Catherine said: “We found one agency who were very good but were, frankly, just exorbitantly expensive.  Another agency assured me that they had a team who were experienced with tracheostomy, PEG feeding and children with complex needs.  They then sent in two girls who had never worked with children, nor seen either a feeding PEG or tracheostomy tube.  One of them had worked with the elderly in care homes, whilst her friend was a hairdresser.  They were supposed to be “shadowing” the carers who had Matthew, but spent the whole shift gossiping about their boyfriends.

“When we confronted the agency, they said we must be patient and they thought they would be perfect because they were “young and available”!  We responded that we may as well go down to the local bus stop and pick up anyone available there!

“The next person they sent had spent his whole career and training working with children with behavioural difficulties.  He took one look and said he couldn’t work with Matthew – at least he was honest!”

Catherine and Adam were finally put in touch with Almond Care who met with the family and set about putting together a specialist nursing and care team to fully meet his needs.

Catherine explained: “I immediately clicked with Almond’s director Julia; who came out to meet us. Julia has an extensive nursing background and she informed us that Arno, her husband and fellow director is a former paramedic so that reassured me. The team they have put in place are exceptional and we are extremely fortunate to have a number of very dedicated care specialists. They really are a great team. They work together seamlessly in two, twelve hour shift patterns, providing two-on-one care and they are all wonderful, highly professional individuals.

“Because they spend so much time in our home we have a relaxed and friendly relationship with them. We can have a laugh with them but when a job needs doing they snap back into professional mode in an instant. Matthew is the centre of our world and they are totally focussed on his care needs. Adam and I now feel able to take short respite breaks away from home, knowing that Matthew will be properly cared for. Although we will never again be able to close our front door and just be the three of us, the team make a hard situation a lot easier.

“In circumstances like ours, sadly you cannot turn back the clock and make everything better. We are having to deal with the situation as best we can and we certainly could not do this without a first class care team. Almond Care’s specialist nurses and carers have provided us with exemplary service and I would have no hesitation in recommending them as an agency to others.”

James’* story – Spinal injury

James* was 17-years-old when his life changed irrevocably in an instant. A victim of crime, james was attacked and knocked from his bike. As a result, he suffered a C5/C6 spinal cord injury which has left him tetraplegic. Understandably, the devastating injuries also resulted in James suffering from long-term mental health issues, as he has battled to come to terms with his life changing injuries.

Initially, James found himself in and out of a succession of care homes. Although the care he received for his physical injuries was generally good, being away from home had an impact on his mental and emotional wellbeing.

His sister, Julie, explains: “Not only did we have a lengthy, ongoing court battle to contend with, we also had to fight to ensure that James’ welfare was put first. The defending law team wanted James to remain in a care home to keep their costs down. At one point, he was sent to a home in Brighton – 90 miles away from his family and friends which meant he felt very isolated and unhappy.

“We successfully argued in court that James’ needs would be better served by returning to live in his own home in Camden. Having cleared this hurdle, we then needed to set about finding a care agency who would be able to provide the highly specialised, round-the-clock care that James required.

“We approached an agency who were unable to offer the care package we needed, but they personally recommended Almond Care to us.

“The first time we spoke to Julia Senah, the clinical nurse specialist at Almond Care, we felt completely reassured that we had made the right decision.

“Julia involved us in every step of the process. She recruited a tailor-made care team in the Camden area and we were invited to sit in on the interviews, so that we had an input into the selection of the care professionals who would be looking after James.

“We selected a fantastic team which included a live in carer as well as 24 hour support staff both night and day. At Almond Care, the focus has always been about putting James’ welfare and interests first. They are not driven primarily by commercial concerns – it’s all about putting the client at the centre of everything they do. The team who have cared for James are incredibly dedicated.

“James is now 34-years-old and has had to come to terms with the fact that he will always need 24/7 care. He is very vulnerable and it is fair to say that caring for James has sometimes been challenging for the Almond team, but they showed tenacity and stuck with him through difficult times – when, in fairness, some care agencies might have walked away.

“This kind of loyalty and dedication to James is what sets Almond Care apart. I would absolutely recommend them to any family in similar circumstances.”

*Names have been changed at client’s request.

Call us today!

For a free, no-obligation discussion about our UK complex care in the home for brain injury, spinal cord injury, long-term ventilation, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and other neurological conditions, please click here or call 024 7610 2333.