Supported Living – A customer’s journey

Hillcrest Supported Living West Sussex was approached by a Social Worker to provide support to a new customer. George* has Downs Syndrome and very complex health needs. The support would be for 4 days supporting him to attend a Day Placement at a local Country Centre.
When meeting with the family, it was clear that they needed a team of support workers, trained in meeting George’s* needs who could provide consistent cover.

George* needs to know who will be supporting him each day to avoid causing him stress, which could result in challenging behaviour and violent outbursts.
A plan was put in place that would enable Hillcrest staff to work alongside the current support staff. This allowed them to get to know George* and his daily routine. Our staff attended training for peg feeding and were able to put what they had learnt into practise whilst doing the double up shifts.

This allowed them to gain confidence and become competent with George’s* specialist health needs, whilst having an experienced person overseeing everything that they were doing.
George’s* family were impressed that they had access to a senior member of staff 24/7. This helped put them at ease, as they knew whatever the day, or the time, if there was an emergency they would be able to speak to a senior member of the team.
Sadly, George’s* health deteriorated resulting in him having to go to hospital. Due to George’s specialist health needs it was unsure whether he would be able to return to day services, and more importantly return home.
George’s* family were very worried and did not want to leave him on his own. It was agreed that as our staff were trained to meet George’s* specialist health needs we would support him in hospital, so that mum and dad could get some rest.

Though mum and dad were reluctant to leave George*, they acknowledged that they needed to rest, and were confident that if anything did happen the staff member would contact them straight away.
Amazingly, and to everyone’s surprise George* recovered and was able to return home. George now had more specialist health needs; oxygen was to be administered, so the appropriate oxygen training was arranged for George’s* support team.

A care package was also put in place by Hillcrest enabling his parents to go about their usual routine.

As time went on a meeting was called with George*, mum and dad and the day service. An agreement was put in place that George* would have a very gradual reintroduction into day services and see how this impacted on his health.
Our staff knew exactly what signs to look for if George’s* health was beginning to decline and they were trained to administer any medication that may be required should the worst happen. Staff kept all the necessary medication on them at all times just in case it was required.
As each week passed George’s* health improved and there were days when George* required none of the new medication that had been supplied after the period spent in hospital.
At this time George* is now spending 4 full days at a day service and spending 1 full day with support staff doing more leisure based activities. The oxygen issued by the hospital is no longer required and is kept at home should it be needed in the future.
George* is an incredible person with so much fight, and behind him is an incredible family that have so much love for him. They are supported by a staff team that have worked wonders to reinstate George* and his family’s faith in adult services.

We spoke with George’s* Dad to hear about his journey with Hillcrest Learning Disabilities Services.
“We came to Hillcrest as you were recommended. The staff are very hands on and up beat. Since being with Hillcrest George* now looks forward to being with his carers. He has good relationships with them all, they look out for him.” He said.
“Georges* carers are friendly, nice people to be around they are trusted people. One of George’s* carers is firm but fair with him. He sees the world through my son’s eyes. We are so happy to have found Hillcrest.”

Matthew Li, Deputy Manager -Hillcrest Supported Living West Sussex

*(name changed to protect identity)