In addition to using person- centred practice as described in the Aspirations Journey, we have proven expertise in supporting people who have a learning disability, dual diagnosis and autistic spectrum disorder moving to their own homes, where they have a tenancy. Our core experience is in supporting people moving from highly supported environments e.g. hospital, secure settings and residential placements into their own homes with personalised support. In 2014, 62% people supported by us had not lived community settings for over five years.
We focus on the priorities that people and their families have been telling us locally and nationally through government guidance like Valuing People Now (2008) and Winterbourne View Hospital: Department of Health Review and Response June 2013 see National Development Team for Inclusion www.ndti.org.uk
We focus on supporting people
- to have a home of their own,
- to gain employment
- to have friends and relationships
- to contribute to their local communities
- to develop their communication skills and the ways that others understand them by using Intensive Interaction and Total Communication systems
- to maximise their independence and control in decisions-making
- to have good health and well-being
- to be able to deal with specific issues that people who have a learning disability can face as they get older.
Here are some examples of the way we are supporting people with learning disabilities currently.
Developing independence, maintaining relationships and using technology to support this.
We coach our teams to use alternatives to just paid support to promote better outcomes for people. We draw on the work of Helen Sanderson Associates www.helensandersonassocaites.co.uk) called Just Enough Support to make this happen.
We have success in using assistive technology to promote control, develop relationships, managing money, promoting health and safety and accessing information.
Person-centred reviews act as a time to explore the use of technology. It played its part when Gemma, who we support, had her mum and sister join the review from Spain, via Skype, using the team’s iPad. Gemma then wanted her own iPad so she could see and talk to her family whenever she wished. She got one the next Saturday and enrolled at college for a course to learn more about them.
Simon is 31 and has a heart of gold. He has a mild learning disability sometimes just decides to "take off" and is very vulnerable. The team and Simon decided to use Sky Guard, GPS device as he wished to develop his confidence in being on his own whilst out and about. He knew that we could now find him if he took off. He says that when he "takes off" it is very frightening. He is now relaxed about going out on his own doing things like shopping. He still "takes off" but returns back quickly, safely and in good spirits with our support, the GPS and his phone.
Supporting Health and well-being
We work to reduce the health inequalities that people with learning disabilities experience by encouraging reasonable adjustments by other professionals to meet their needs and annual health checks as recommended in Healthcare for All (2008).
The Person-centred Support Plan contains the written description of health and wellbeing support. Health Action Plans ensure that specific health checks happen and any recommendations are integrated into the support plans. Where people have fluctuating health conditions, Stay Well plans help us provide support so the person remains well and addresses what contributes to them becoming unwell that result in action.
Having choice over who supports you
Aspirations uses a Person-centred Recruitment process not just about people who have a learning disability sitting on an interview panel! Person-centred thinking tools are used to get the best match between the person and the people we are recruiting. Information gathered throughout the Aspirations Journey from the person and people that know them develops into a One-page profile and Person-centred support plan. It includes a description of the type of people a person would wish to have or not have in their lives. This information is core to recruitment and selection. The Matching Support Person-centred thinking tool describes the skills wanted and needed; support needed; personality characteristics and shared common interests being looked for.
Jan and Christine's Story
Jan and Christine's story shows this in practice. Jan was not somebody who wanted to interview but she was clear about who she was looking for to support her. She wanted someone who liked to watch Jeremy Kyle shows and to bake and cook. We found Christine and she was selected. The result of this good match for Jan has had a profound effect on her life. Jan and Christine have been to live Jeremy Kyle shows, and cook and bake whenever they can. Jan is more out-going, goes on holidays, a regular member of a local art group and plays bingo each week with Christine at a local venue. Her health has improved and she no longer has as many physical and verbally aggressive outbursts and her medication related to this has reduced. It has been shown in research linked with person –centred practice that the match of support is the best indicator of how a person’s well-being in terms of difficult behaviour can change. Our approach to recruitment and selection with people who have a learning disability is supporting this outcome.