As part of MacIntyre’s focus on World Mental Health Day, we are looking at what we are doing across the country to establish the right support for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs.
We are seeing more people we support with a dual diagnosis, especially within the Transforming Care provision. We need to ensure we are forward-thinking at all times, so our support is mindful of this.
The Transforming Care agenda is about improving health care services so that more people can live in the community with the right support, ensuring they have homes, not hospital placements.
Today in light of this, we are sharing a story about a gentleman called James* from Wigan.
Positive changes - James’ Story
Before we met James*, he lived in a secure setting for 19 years, after receiving a diagnosis of a mild learning disability and schizophrenia. Staff at the hospital said he would never be able to live within the community.
Now since working with MacIntyre, James has moved out of the hospital and into a home of his own and is an active and valued member of his community.
This is James’ Story.
Whilst in hospital, James primarily lived in isolation and was restrained regularly, with access to the community once or twice a week. Staff there would often revoke his trips out as a form of punishment following an incident.
James enjoys routine and liked to shut doors or turn the lights off himself. When he didn’t have control over anything in his life, it was one of the things he could do independently. Hospital staff would stop James doing this and as a punishment, James would often lose his privileges.
After 19 years in hospital, James was deemed as having a moderate learning disability, with his mental health suffering to such a degree that it had affected his IQ.
MacIntyre staff began the transition with James whilst he was still living at the hospital, which took close to 18 months in total.
In this time, MacIntyre staff developed a strong relationship with James. They learnt his likes and dislikes, how to best support him in a person centred way, all whilst making sure his mental health was considered at all times.
There was a lot of work to do to ensure his move from hospital to a home of his own was a success, but the staff team were determined to make this happen.
In October 2018 James moved out of the hospital and into his own home, where he has had a stable and consistent staff team who enjoy supporting him. Staff say James is funny, engaging, friendly and they look forward to their shifts with him.
James now has free access to the community and has made many links with people. James likes to go to the local shop and chat with the owner, visit his local pub and play snooker. Staff are always looking for new activities for James so he can continue to play an active role within his community.
In the past 12 months, there has only been one incident. James has never been restrained by his staff team, which is an incredibly positive change.
Since working with MacIntyre, James has begun to re-learn the life skills that he lost while in hospital; which include shopping, cooking and cleaning. He now takes a small amount of money the shop and enjoys choosing what he wants to purchase.
James says he feels settled in his home and often shares how happy he is and explains he never wants to go back into hospital.
Every day James still lives with his schizophrenia, but due to the consistent, person centred support he receives, his diagnosis no longer controls his life.
*Names have been changed.