Rob has severe learning disabilities, autism and complex needs, he joined Walsingham Support from a long stay hospital in the North West of England. Up until this point Rob had spent the vast majority of his life living with large groups of people in shared accommodation, we placed him in a small residential service with 5 other individuals. But it wasn’t right.
It quickly became clear that even living with just five other people, was too much for Rob and that for his life to really improve he needed a rigid daily routine. Staff knew that the only option was for Rob to live alone with a carefully structured support plan delivered to a strict timetable, but this would not be easy or quick to arrange.
The first step was to get Rob into accommodation with as few other individuals as possible and a service with just 2 other people was found. A team was recruited to work with Rob both before and after the move into his new home so that continuity of both staff and routine could be kept.
This was followed by creating the structure and routine that would avoid upsetting Rob or triggering challenging behaviours. Staff brought Professor Dave Dagnan, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, to help devise a specific routine that he and staff could follow. Staff carefully followed this, using the same patterns, rhythms and words, day in and day out.
“I worked closely with Walsingham Support staff, to create a routine and structure that takes into account Rob’s autism, and keeps him as calm as possible. We needed to prepare him for changes in activities in ways he could understand, for example, by using his favourite mug to signify that lunch was approaching, or planning the route of his daily walks to avoid distractions such as the grass being cut. Carefully looking at this, and also the move to accommodation where he is the sole resident has significantly reduced his challenging behaviour.” - Professor Dave Dagnan
As adult social care had been trying for years to find the best solution for Rob, they were happy to agree to Walsingham Support purchasing a house for him and having this fitted out for his specific needs. A house was chosen with exactly the same layout of rooms as the service he was currently in, even the walls were painted to match the colours he knew.
Because change for Rob can be extremely challenging, the day of the move had to be planned carefully around his usual routine. Rob did everything as normal and went out for a drive as usual, along his usual route. But this time they ended the drive parked at the new house. Rob refused to leave the car and this stalemate lasted until staff decided to cook Rob his usual lunch, put it on his usual plate and bring it out to show him. It worked. Rob was happy to go into his new home and have his lunch, after that his routine just kicked in seamlessly as it had at the previous house.
Without doubt living alone has been a huge benefit to Rob, he’s calmer and more settled than he has ever been, he goes out for a walk twice a day and eats at a table, things he never could do before. That was 9 years ago and today Rob and the same staff are all still together in the same house
If you, a member of your family or a friend would like some advice around transition support and the options available to you, get in touch via the Contact Us above and we will be happy to discuss your specific needs.