Sometimes Valerie struggles with rapidly changing moods and on a ‘Bad Day’ may not communicate verbally with anybody – retreating into her own world. Staff do make every effort to support her with these days but I had noticed a pattern. There were more and more ‘Bad Days’.
On reflection I thought this could be due to the way staff were supporting Valerie to get up in the morning.
I had noticed over the previous few weeks that when Valerie is rushed early in the morning, and the only conversations she has with staff are about what she is about to do, such as having a shower and going out, quite often Valerie’s initial response is not so positive.
Maybe we needed to slow down and think about how Valerie felt.
I gave it a go.
Crouched down by the head of her bed, I whispered softly “Good Morning Valerie, did you have a nice sleep?” A few seconds later, Valerie turned her head towards me, smiled and replied “Yes I did”. This early morning conversation started before the hustle and bustle of the day had begun. We talked about her dreams and if she could remember them, whether ‘Ted’ had also had a good sleep and about the day ahead and what Valerie had planned. She loved ‘Ted’ being a part of it too and would speak to ‘Ted’ for answers and then relay them back to me.
Valerie chose her clothes for the day, with some support helping her to get the items out of the wardrobe. She dried herself with her towel after her shower and picked her breakfast and made it herself. These were the signs of a ‘Good Day’ for Val.
I was so happy for her; she’d had such a good day!
The important thing now was to share this with the team and make sure everyone supported Valerie in this way. We have been doing this for a few weeks now and we have all noticed that Valerie is having more ‘Good Days’ than ‘Bad’.
Valerie really seems to enjoy the early morning conversations while she’s just rousing from sleep, before anybody else is up and the house is still quiet and peaceful.
Taking it slowly has made all the difference to Valerie’s day – she’s chatty, happy, makes choices and just seems more like the old Valerie. We know we have to keep learning from Valerie to ensure she has even more ‘Good Days’, and that’s exactly what we intend to do.
Senior Support Worker