CATTS Staff-Led Training for Residential Services

What is the Staff-Led Training Approach for Residential Services?

A combined Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) / Occupational Therapy (OT)-focused initiative to empower Residential Service staff (HSE & Contractors) to address communication difficulties and independent living skills of service users.


Some of the realised / planned benefits of the approach have been:

  • OT_ADult_careImproved quality of life for service users.
  • Expansion of the role of on-site nursing/ care staff to reduce the need to call in SLT/OT for routine concerns.
  • Reduction of challenging behaviour which may be caused when nursing staff cannot recognising when a service user is trying to communicate and is getting frustrated.
  • Reduction in onsite stress and better working environment for nursing staff (planned benefit is to contribute to less unplanned staff absences.)


The Approach includes 3 distinctive phases:

  1. Training Phase: Initial Staff Training delivered by CATTS Therapists (Communication Toolkit and Sensory Needs).
  2. Mentoring Phase: Mentoring to all staff over a defined time period (e.g. 12 months).
    Full SLT & OT assessment at the start of all Service users and follow-up training with staff to tailor specific strategies to be used with each Service user in their care.CATTS Team will continue support after training, phasing out over a set period of time.
  3. Maintenance: (Policing) of outcomes by CATTS for 3 years after the end of the Mentoring Phase, to ensure sustainability. CATTS use quarterly spot visits to Residences with a ‘HIQA-like’ reporting assessment which is then shared to Residence Management and senior team to ensure any issues are found and addressed as they are identified. After the Initial roll-out, CATTS can continue the Policing Phase for as long as Residence Management deem it helpful.


Why this Approach?

CATTS developed this approach after contact by residential units that needed SLT/OT input to address identified service issues. Instead of providing the requested consults which would result in almost indefinite support to ensure continued success, we created a model to empower the onsite teams.
The training is delivered by CATTS Founder and Lead Speech and Language Therapist, Marijke Morris, along with members of the CATTS Clinical team onsite at the residence. The CATTS Project Management system then keeps residence management at all levels appraised of the delivery of the approach through all phases, to ensure that it enhances, not interferes with the smooth running of the Residential units.



“SOS Kilkenny Ltd., a service for adults with intellectual disabilities and autism, employed CATTS to carry out individual service user assessments, staff training in developing communication strategies and staff training in communication passports. We found Marijke and Lisa to be extremely knowledgeable in their field, with a hands-on approach to instructing how to improve the communication of the people we support.  Staff were equipped with a tool kit of strategies, that they can now apply to their practice. SOS would use the services of CATTS in the future.” Margaret Larkin, Aspect Manager, SOS Kilkenny Ltd.


What to do next:

If you think your service (or the service your loved one is a resident in) would benefit from this approach, please contact CATTS to discuss. We can only engage directly with senior members of any service as positive change for the well-being of those in care comes from the top.


Ownership of the CATTS Staff-Led Training Approach:

If you are a healthcare professional, and would like to offer this approach directly in your service, or for support to third parties, please contact CATTS to discuss training and licensing for you and your team.

Currently CATTS have not authorised any other providers to offer this approach to meet residents needs in care facilities.

Scroll to Top