14 Dec 2023
An Impact on Research: CELDA Research Associate Farah-Leila Mughal on Supporting Projects and Her Journey to Becoming an Intern
We spoke to Farah-Leila Mughal, Research Assistant for the Care Experience Improvements for People with a Learning Disability and /or Autism (CELDA) project, which aims to enhance the quality of case for individuals with learning disabilities and autism.
It focuses on creating a risk assessment tool for identifying at-risk homes, identifying key improvement areas in the learning disability care market, collecting feedback to develop a supportive toolkit for care providers, and establishing a joint charter to ensure staff well-being during challenging situations.
Can you tell us about the CELDA project?
Yes, absolutely. The CELDA project stands for: 'Care Experience Improvements for People with a Learning Disability and /or Autism'.
The study investigated the poor care received by people with learning disabilities and/ or Autism in residential care homes, as well as the staff caring for them. Across Norfolk, we have seen several very traumatic home closures with individuals receiving "inhumane treatment" and other alleged abuse taking place.
The staff managing these closures have had to support individuals in the care environments who have been the victims of, at minimum, poor care or have experienced abuse of some form.
In this study, my supervisor and I undertook a systematic literature review of CQC reports of 10 recent care home closures to equip staff better to support care providers in improving the quality of care for people with a learning disability and/or Autism.
In January, we are also conducting focus groups to acquire feedback from social workers and health staff about whether a debrief was helpful after a traumatic care home closure.
What are the main goals of the project?
The main goals of the project are:
- To produce clear themes where the efforts for our focus to improve the care market should be
- To develop a risk matrix/checklist for services that may be at risk of poor care and how we can identify them earlier and support them to improve based on the themes from the extended literature review.
What do you hope to achieve with the project?
The themes drawn from the thematic analysis will support plans to improve the Learning Disability Care market. The feedback from the focus groups will allow us to create a risk matrix for all parties to support their staff.
The impacts of the project will be:
- The ability to recognise and respond to care homes in concern
- Create a programme of preventative work with care providers focusing on key themes
- Increased staff wellbeing
What is your role within CELDA?
I am the Research Assistant for the CELDA project. During this role, I undertook a systemic literature review of 10 CQC reports sent to me by my supervisor, Victoria Bunting. I conducted a thematic analysis of these reports to draw out themes of poor care, which resulted in these four themes:
- 'Poor overall culture within the home'
- 'Lack of support for staff and Managers'
- 'Unfit environment to provide good quality care'
- 'Ineffective systems in place to provide good quality care'
I am also preparing for two focus groups I will run in January. One focus group will consist of social and health workers who have experienced a traumatic home closure and undertaken a debrief session.
A second focus group will consist of workers who have experienced a traumatic home closure but have not been debriefed. This will hopefully draw out the debrief sessions' impacts, allowing me to compare and contrast these impacts.
How did you become an intern?
I was job-hunting for Psychology-related jobs, and whilst looking for Research opportunities, I saw this interesting Internship opportunity on the UEA Career Central website.
I was intrigued by the research topic and thought it would be a fascinating project to work on. So, I applied, was offered an interview, which I heavily prepped for, and was kindly offered the Internship role by the interview panel!
What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing an internship?
If you are interested in pursuing an internship, go for it! If you see an interesting internship opening, fill in the application with the belief that you are qualified for it.
I also recommend not being put off if the internship is in a field you are unfamiliar with or do not have much experience in. Internships can offer a great experience and be an excellent opportunity to dip your toes into a new field/ topic area without a long-term commitment like you would have in a full-time job.
Is this internship within your chosen field?
I am interested in the field of research, but I had not planned on working in the Social care field. I had never dipped my toes into this field before this internship, so I have learned a lot about Social work and care homes that I had no idea about before!
However, since I have a Social Psychology degree, this internship fits in very well with some of my interests, and the Research knowledge that I gained during this degree has proven very useful in this Research Project.
What has been the most rewarding part of the project for you so far?
It is knowing that this work aims to make a difference in the social care field, leading to fewer home closures and an improved care experience for people with a learning disability and/ or Autism. Furthermore, a reduced staff turnover and better experiences for people in care.
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