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Working effectively with Support Workers, with Natalie McKenzie, Director of BIS Services

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Notes to Episode

In today’s episode we hear from Natalie McKenzie about the role and skills of trained Rehabilitation Assistants (RAs), who can provide valuable insights on clients, inform care team colleagues, and advocate on a client’s behalf. She offers us great tips and advice on supervision, fostering positive relationships, contracting, wellbeing, and dealing with discriminatory behaviour from clients.


support workers, rehabilitation assistants, RAs, brain injury, cognitive rehabilitation, BIS Services, TBI, ABI, functional skills, behaviour, thoughts, mood, metacognition, data, collaborative, MDT, case managers, strategic, operational, sense of the client, qualitative, supervision, authority, advocate, clinical contracting, expectations, referral, matching, staff wellbeing, mental health, discrimination, cultural challenges, mutual respect, BIS Training Academy, Independent Living Assessment

2:00 Natalie introduces herself and her company

5:30 Support worker vs rehabilitation assistant

8:00 How they train RAs

9:42 The importance of supervision and evidencing decision making

13:00 Getting insights on the client from your RA

16:00 Case study

18:00 Informing the rest of the team about the nuances in client care

20:35 Respecting the skills of the RA

23:00 Difference a good relationship with the RA can make

26:00 RA as client advocate26:46 Clinical contracting

32:07 Investing in staff wellbeing

37:40 Dealing with discriminatory behaviour from clients

39:40 Three tips

43:00 Investing in training and skills


7:20 “For us, the big difference is in not doing for, but doing with. It’s enabling functional skills.”

15:05 “Relying on the information coming in from the RAs is so pivotal.”

18:46 “Not everything can be scored! Sometimes you need to work with your support team to find out what is going on with your client.”

Guest: Natalie MacKenzie, BIS Services | @thecognitiverehabcoach

Presenter: Dr Shabnam Berry-Khan, Director of PsychWorks Associates

Editor: Emily Crosby Media