It’s a shocking fact that there are still hundreds of people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour living in hospitals, sometimes for ten years or more, due to lack of suitable housing. Setting aside for one moment the inappropriateness of a person living in an institution when it’s not necessary, it has been suggested that the NHS could save over £10 million a year if these people were able to move into suitable supported accommodation.
At Frontier Support we provide care and support to vulnerable adults and our approach has always been about changing the lives of the people we support. Our relationship with Zetetick Housing allows people a greater choice about potential accommodation options. Just last month, we had a family, care manager and a member of our team shortlisting housing choices on the internet (good old Right Move!) and visiting three properties before deciding on ground floor flat with a garden in Balham, South London.
In some professional mindsets a move from an Assessment and Treatment Centre to an individual tenancy in a flat of the person’s own choosing is a step too far. But, at Frontier Support, we don’t believe this is the case and anyway what’s the alternative? People staying in a hospital setting? We provide supporting living ONLY, we don’t support people in residential or hospital settings and never will.
A successful move
In order for any major move to happen there are a number of important factors to consider and plan for :
- The person MUST be at the center of all planning and preferably be actively involved. People who have been in a hospital will lack control about their environment.
- Partnership working between stakeholders is critical with sharing of information and conversations based on open and transparent dialogue enabling a successful and positive move for the person.
- Change of this scale requires time for the person to adjust. It’s vital to any successful move out of a hospital setting to have a carefully planned transition. Key aspects of the transition will be around people building relationships and finding successful ways in working with and supporting the person. Including both pro-active and reactive strategies to keep everyone safe. There should also be a backup plan should the person struggle to adjust. The adjustment phase could be as simple as one day a week in the new environment and adding another day week by week building this up at the person’s pace.
The transition phase can be a barrier for local authorities as care managers will be struggling to balance the limited finances available to them. However, if this was carefully planned, it will be more likely that a move will be successful and allow the person to continue living in an environment that they are happy with and were involved with choosing. Rushing such situations purely because of cost is unhelpful for the person and sets the person up to fail and or at worst being recalled into hospital and therefore costing more money. And that’s before we even start to consider the potential emotional damage.
Commitment to making it happen
I’m proud to share that our team NEVER give up on a person, no matter how difficult the situation of crisis they may face in their lives. These are the times that people learn to trust one another in a real and meaningful way.
If you’re a person looking for support, a parent trying to find support for a loved one or a care manager/commissioner struggling to find a workable solution then please get in touch…