Supporting people with learning disabilities to live independently

Transforming care for people with learning disabilities and/or autism is all about improving health and care services so that more people can live in the community, with the right support, and close to home. For Andrea, 19, a grant from the Technology Fund enabled her to live independently within her local community following four’s years of hospital in-patient care.

Before going into hospital at the age of 19 Andrea had lived with family but following an operation she refused to speak for several months which resulted in her being sectioned and admitted to hospital.

Dimensions were asked to assess Andrea two years ago but it was decided that at the time she wasn’t ready to be discharged so when a new referral came through staff were keen to support Andrea to leave hospital.

When a bungalow became available that was suitable it was decided that it would be a good stepping stone for Andrea.  The property was funded by a grant from the Department of Health’s Housing and Technology Fund which, in 2016, gave money to local authority projects. The successful projects aimed to support new housing for people with a learning disability to support independence and help people feel included in their local community.

The team from Dimensions worked with Andrea, her team of staff and her family to collect information and went along to multi-disciplinary meetings as well as working with her to develop independent living skills. As the move to her new home got nearer the staff team spent time supporting Andrea and building relationships with the people who would be caring for her.

Andrea’s home is a two-bedroomed modern bungalow decorated in her favourite colour with pots of flowers and strawberries growing, it has a conservatory where she keeps all her arts and crafts. Over the last few months Andrea has been getting used to the local community, going to a local club every Wednesday and is looking at getting into the local sea cadets. She’s a familiar face at the local car boot sale, and has managed to bag a few bargains along the way for her home.

Andrea sees her family every weekend and loves tidying her house, taking great pride in showing people around. Staff have said she is much more confident and has stopped taking medication for anxiety which means she has more energy and is engaging with her support team more.  As well as this Andrea has enrolled in her local college, attends therapy classes and has also joined slimming world.

All of Andrea’s circle of support are now discussing plans for moving on to a more permanent home and helping Andrea to choose where she wants to live and recruiting her new staff team.

For more information contact Wendy Hicks, Transforming Care Housing Lead – London and East Midlands,