We recently welcomed Jill to one of our supported living homes.
When Dimensions were first introduced to Jill she had been living in a Mental Health Challenging Behaviour secure unit for two years. When the team met with Jill it was clear that she would benefit from a less clinical environment.
Together with Jill, the team then began a transition plan including shadowing and spending time with Jill over a period of four weeks. During this time they got to know Jill and her needs thoroughly, and hoped that after spending so much time together, she would feel comfortable in her new home with them. The secure unit was very different to what the Dimensions team were used to, and so they were even more determined to make the move a success for Jill. Especially as Jill had previously had a couple of failed moves.
“Jill had adapted to the ATU, she had routine and knew that it kept her safe but she was overwhelmed by the other people living there, often choosing to sit in the quiet room. Other people’s behaviour had a big impact on her and her behaviour was her coping mechanism.” explains Jennifer, the manager of the team who helped Jill make the transition to the community.
After adapting to life inside an ATU, initially Jill had some difficulties settling in, but the team worked through these with her to ensure she was happy and had settled in to her new life. And what a difference a couple of months can make; Jill is loving her new home!
In the secure unit Jill was limited to walks around the grounds and a few occasional outings, dependent on the availability of staff and the other residents. However in her new home in the community Jill has been on numerous trips, she’s enjoyed Fish and Chips at the beach, a visit to the Aquarium and she very fond of going out for a cuppa and a piece of cake.
After supporting Jill for a little while, her team quickly realised that she likes to look her best and loves having her makeup and nails done. Jill even recently took a trip to the hairdressers to have her haircut, an activity the team had been told would be too distressing for her, but Jill welcomed some pampering and was proud to show off her new look! But pampering is not the only thing Jill likes to indulge in, she delights in baking and music, taking part in both activities with real gusto.
Jill has also successfully attended an appointment with her Doctor, with careful planning and the right support she bravely tolerated invasive health tests… Another task that just wasn’t considered possible before.
“She likes everything to be tidy – if you leave the milk out she will put it away, she is making the home her own and is helping with housework but more importantly having choice and control over her own life. The staff have got to know her very well and she is using her communication skills to let us know what she wants.”
Jill is thriving and the team are thrilled to have found her a forever home that makes her so happy. We’re delighted to have helped Jill, this is just another example of how life outside of long stay hospitals is not only possible but vital to improve the quality of life for those with learning disabilities and or autism.