Dr Richard Bennett’s Experience of Care

25 April 2018

Dr Richard Bennett – Experience of Care Week 2018

Dr Richard Bennett
DJ Hot Sox

Hello my name is Dr Richard Bennett and I am a research biochemist. In 2011 I had a brain stem stroke which left me paralysed but my IQ, personality and memory were unaffected. The stroke occurred while I was working and living in Portugal with my wife.

I have come to accept my condition which will not change unless there is a breakthrough in something like stem cell research. I have adapted to locked-in syndrome but my only regrets are that I will never hold my wife again or eat my favourite food and drink. At least I am compos mentis and I have the capacity to direct my own care such as my medication. I can still teach and pass on my knowledge and skills to people. I have a high quality of life thanks to this Eye Gaze system and the many other technologies that COMPASS have given me.

I have had Eye Gaze systems for about five years for work and leisure facilities including via email and Skype performances to Belgium to do a DJ set for a Conference with 700 delegates and over 4,000 online and to Berlin for a music competition. Rebecca my friend and music teacher and I won and got £300 pounds each from the Berlin competition.

Some of my most positive experiences at the RHN have been

Communication Working Party

Being a member of this group means that I can directly influence and deliver the training of staff. I have noticed a real improvement in communication and more staff now try to use the AEIOU chart and most importantly, now actually talk to me and not at me!

Technical Support

I rely upon the COMPASS team to troubleshoot any teething problems with my Eye Gaze system which is essential for both work and social activities and especially for email. Recently they have added a Portuguese voice so that I can speak with my wife and my Portuguese friends in their native tongue. They have recently added software that allows me to save documents and later on  speak them back which is crucial for my work such as talks at conferences.

Activities and Volunteers

Many of my activities rely on volunteers – from my 1:1 volunteer who reads to me most Monday afternoons, to those who help me take part in the gardening group and play Boccia.

External Music Therapy

I have one day most weeks when I compose and record our charity CDs and play my music and I have found a kindred spirit in Rebecca, although I would also like to mention the music therapy that I had initially at the RHN. Rebecca and I are composing our second charity CD for the RHN and have just finished doing tracks plus a documentary about the interface between music and technology for three PhD students from QMC London.


The pastor, Geoff, and his assistant, Asi,  provide essential support for the religious residents and secular support, even atheists like me – they are simply nice people to talk to. I also receive support from the ward manager and administrator.

Some of my more challenging experiences at the RHN have been:

I previously experienced some issues with staff not always communicating well with me, especially around moving and handling and the positioning of my call bell, which left me feeling scared and vulnerable. I have shared these experiences with staff in the communication training and seen a subsequent improvement.


You can read more about the Experience of Care Week here.

You can read Richard’s blog here.