David has short term memory loss, but he is very independent and proud. David highlighted through his monthly Person Centred Plan (PCP) that he would like to be able to catch the bus from his home all the way to work at Mencap. This is two bus rides which David would find very hard to remember. David’s routine on a Tuesday is that he would be dropped off at McDonalds in Worcester town centre then walk to the Crown gate bus station where he would catch the number 44 bus to Mencap. David has been doing this for a number of years. To introduce a new bus route to David would be very difficult because of his memory difficulties.
I then spoke to David’s parents and told them of David’s goals from the PCP meeting. They were both concerned that David would not be able to remember another bus route, or remember the bus route from home to the bus station but forget the bus route to Mencap. I asked them if over the summer break from Wild Goose, whether David could come and do bus training with his one to one time. They agreed and we would see how things progressed. I spoke to David about what was I was proposing to do to help him achieve his goals; David was pleased that he would be getting bus travel training. A risk assessment is already in place for David to travel on the bus alone.
On the Saturday 5th August David was support to go to Worcester on the bus. I had asked the support worker to tell David every aspect of the journey, where to catch the bus, what number bus (34) to get on, stay on the bus until it got to the bus station. David enjoyed the first training session. Then throughout the week when I was on shift I would ask David about the bus journey, where did you get the bus, what number bus did you get on and where did you get off the bus. David could only remember where he got the bus from. I planned for the same support worker to support David again, this was to give David consistency and a familiar presence. After completing three sessions of bus training, I typed a bus passport that has brief memory joggers for David so he could refer to if he became stressed or anxious. These were walk to bus, wait for 34 bus, stay on bus until bus station and go to bus stand D for Mencap bus. Each week I would continue to ask David questions about bus training to underpin his knowledge and to satisfy myself that he would be safe to try the journey by himself. Bus training finished as David’s one to one hours returned to Sundays because David had gone back to Wild Goose.
I still continued to ask David about the journey. I was now confident that David would be able to remember the bus route and the bus route onto Mencap from the bus station. I contacted his Mum to say that I was confident that David could make the journey alone on the bus and that I would follow the bus on Tuesday 17th October. She agree but highlighted that David’s bus pass would not start until 9.30am, so I asked her to let Mencap know that David would be starting work later.
On Saturday 14th October I told David that he would be going to Mencap on the bus from the house to the bus station and on to Mencap. David was really pleased and excited as being independent is so important for David. On Sunday I questioned David on what he would be doing on Tuesday and what would be his route. On Monday night I discussed with David the plan for Tuesday he was excited and said ‘’that will be good to go on the bus on my own.’’
On Tuesday 17th October David got himself ready for work and at 9.25am he left the house. I got in the car and parked waiting for the bus. David got on the right bus. I followed the bus all the way in to Worcester town centre bus station to ensure David did not get off at the wrong stop. I informed his Mum to say that he had arrived at the bus station safely and could she ring Mencap to ring her when he arrived at work.
This is a great achievement for David. We will complete the same exercise next Tuesday to ensure David has remembered the process, but this time I won’t ask him the route before he leaves the house to see if he can do it all on his own.
Senior Support Worker