I was recently asked to visit one of our services, as Sally, a lady we support, was becoming more anxious and her staff team were concerned about this.
After several visits and getting to know Sally, it was clear she needed staff members who were confident, consistent and calm in their approach. Sally also responded well to routine and structure; she didn’t like changes to her routine or staff team.
On one particular visit, Sally’s staff member had a phone call; she had a personal emergency and needed to go home. We both explained this to Sally and that I would be staying with her to support her to make her tea.
Sally went off to her bedroom to think about this, she came back from her bedroom several times to check I was still there, just calling out ‘Jackie’. I reminded her that I was here and we would be cooking tea together later. When Sally decided she wanted to cook her tea, we went through her meal plan and Sally picked out the items she was going to cook from the fridge and a bag of peas from the freezer. Sally was very chatty the whole time, explaining to me how she did things, what pan she was using etc. I thought – ‘great, this going well!’
We checked how the food was coming along and Sally started to cut up some broccoli, putting it in the pan. I asked if the peas were going in a separate pan, however Sally wanted to cook them with the broccoli. Sally then quickly got the bag of peas, cut the bag open fully and tipped some peas into the pan – but an awful lot went in and unfortunately lots of peas also went all over the work surface and floor! I saw that Sally started to panic at this and she tried grabbing a handful of peas out of the pan. ‘Let’s get a spoon’, I calmly said to Sally, ‘it will make things easier, and then we can tidy up together’. Sally spooned some peas that she didn’t need back into the bag and we quickly put the bag of peas safely back in the freezer!
I asked Sally if she could show me where the brush and dustpan were so we could get the peas off the floor. Sally then cleared the peas off the work surface while I cleared the floor. They had travelled all over the kitchen floor. When all was done, I said ‘teamwork – it’s all done!’ Sally smiled back at me and said ‘Teamwork Jackie – it’s good!’
The name of the person in this blog has been changed.
Best Practice Advisor
Person Centred Approaches Team