“More choice and control”
Joan is one of our clients, who came to us as part of the winterbourne project. Having been in a hospital setting for approximately 37 years of her life, Joan found her life to be quite restricted and regimented. When Joan first moved to supported living, she had little confidence in herself, but she soon thrived within her new environment. She began engaging in the community and building connections with her neighbours, as well as learning how to do tasks independently. Joan now leads a happy and fulfilled life, enjoying being part of the community and working in a local charity store.
After gathering background information, our planned visits with Joan in the hospital enabled us to quickly build rapport with her and find out her likes and aspirations. The appointed support workers were introduced gradually and shadowed staff familiar to Joan so that they could see first-hand how to communicate with her and understand her support preferences and routines. Joan’s options to demonstrate skills were very limited in this environment.
The initial support plan honoured Joan’s routines from hospital with ‘just enough support’ to minimise disruption and change of routine by moving to her own home. Over time and with feedback from Joan on top of the observations from those supporting her, Joan’s support plan evolved as she started to have more positive experiences. Joan’s sense of ownership and experience of ‘ordinary living’ grew over time, giving her autonomy to take part in every aspect of her life.
The staff recruitment process heavily involved and relied upon Joan. Joan made the final selection of her team, as well as co-producing the person specification and contributing to the interview questions. She also designed a property specification, which was then used to identify a shortlist of houses. We showed Joan pictures when we visited her in hospital and supported her viewings. Once chosen, Joan went on short visits to the house to become familiar with it, taking and purchasing personal items at each stage to make it feel homely to her.
Joan has developed meaningful relationships with the people she meets regularly in the community, for example shop assistants and neighbours. She developed a new aspiration to work in a shop, so we supported her to get a voluntary position in a charity shop. Joan regularly invites a neighbour in to share a home-baked cake and a cup of tea.