Debra – Circle of Support

My husband & I first got in touch with Imagineer regarding re-establishing a circle/trust for Debra. As her parents, we were keen to make sure things were set up for when we were no longer around.

We also mentioned that where Debra was living wasn’t great for her and she was not happy. The Local Authority had recognised that it wasn’t the right place for her and they had been aiming to find somewhere else for Debra to live for over 8 years. Debra’s dad and I have been actively involved in a number of local strategic groups connected to the council including the LD partnership board, they had attended housing meetings and they had also been a fundamental part of establishing Bradford plan, an organisation aiming to replicate Plan in the Bradford area.

The housing plan had already been facilitated as part of a Person Centred Planning meeting. Debra had really taken to Person Centred Planning and had been fully involved in her plan and her circle of support. At that stage, her original circle had fizzled out 3 years. Together with Imagineer we worked and brought her circle back and we started meeting on a regular basis to start thinking about how to support Debra to move somewhere she would be happier.

Debra’s circle helped to generate new ideas of things to try and places to try to support Debra to find somewhere else to live. We invited Housing Options to Support Debra’s Circle to think through the options available to her. They suggested connecting the housing broker within Bradford Council.

At this stage we funded the input of Imagineer:

    1. We worked on Debra’s Support Plan.
    2. We completed a community care assessment for Debra but an Indicative Budget was not provided.
    3. The principle care manager directed us to complete a support plan based on what Debra needed and we would negotiate budget once the support plan was completed.
    4. Support plan completed and submitted it was aspirational future-focused, highlighting how Debra could be supported to live in her own place and emphasising Debra’s gifts and skills.
    5. The principle social worker and care manager decided this needed to be rewritten to be worded in a way that this could be understood by the panel. They completely changed the Support Plan to reflect what Debra was already receiving and worded in a very medical/professional manner. We did not agree to this at the time but seemed like the only way to move things forward.
    6. The new version of the Support Plan was sent to the panel before it was read by Debra/family/circle.
      The budget that was agreed was less than Debra’s current package of support.
    7. We were then directed by the social worker and principle care manager to use the budget for what is needed for Debra to achieve lifestyle she is looking for.

At this stage Imagineer supported Debra and ourselves to;

      • Recruit support workers, we did this by creating an advert at a circle meeting.
      • Circulating the advert around people from the circle who knew local community, areas that were of interest to Debra, i.e rugby ground, swimming pool.
      • At the interview Debra, myself and her dad and other circle members sat on the panel, Debra was at the interviews to meet candidates and show people her DVD – which showed how she wanted to be supported.
      • I then wrote some induction training and we organised this to be delivered over four Thursday evenings along with basic food hygiene training delivered by my husband.
      • Bespoke two Thursday evenings 1st aid at Bradford College and basic food and hygiene by my husband.

We met with the Housing Broker who listened and asked if she found somewhere how quick could we respond and Debra circle said as soon as possible, within 3 weeks Julie had found somewhere for Debra. The Housing Brokerage had found a house for Debra to live in on her own, but with the option to find someone to share with if she got bored.

The house was ready and the keys were handed over October 2011. We were still recruiting staff at this stage so CRS provided interim support funded by Bradford until Debra’s team was in place. The support provided by CRS came from people who knew Debra well and had supported Debra in her old home.

Debra’s new support team started in November after DBS checks were through and the induction training was delivered. Debra had initially a team of 6 people which we felt would be enough to cover in emergencies and swap when necessary. I also came on board and was paid to provide support over the weekends.

Debra really enjoys her weekends and spending time with her parents. Although me and her dad knew that we would not always be able to provide this and wanted to cost in this part of her support to ensure the budget would be there when needed. The plan is for paid support to also be thee on a weekend so Debra gets used to having someone else around and to ask for support.

Where Debra used to live there was tension between her and others living there and Debra’s behaviour at times showed quite clearly that she wasn’t happy there. To combat this, the support provider put 1 to 1 support in place for Debra. Imagineer had a conversation with someone who used to provide this 1 to 1 support in Debra’s old house and they informed them that they were requested to sit in Debra’s room throughout the evening if she wasn’t going anywhere as it was better for the other house mates if Debra stayed in her bedroom and any potential conflict situations would therefore be avoided. Debra has a small bedroom which had enough room for a single bed, wardrobe and sink you can imagine how confined Debra must of felt.

People have commented how much happier Debra is now in her own home. She is making more choices about where she goes on an evening. She is doing much more in her own home, cleaning, gardening and especially cooking. She has developed her confidence and enjoyment in all these areas.

She decides when she goes to bed ( she used to have to go to bed at 9pm as her 1 to 1 finished work then). So she loves later nights and the chance to go out and socialise more.

Debra chooses;

      • What she eats
      • What she wears
      • The basic stuff that perhaps people take for granted

Debra was described as someone who likes an early night, not now, she loves going out on an evening and is doing so more. Debra is much happier and less frustrated.

There has not been one occasion of her being frustrated or angry since she moved into her own home. She is happier and she is losing weight without a diet plan and we can only guess this is because she is much more active.

Her support team work really well together making sure all important information is shared without it all becoming about the paperwork. What Debra is doing during the day is recorded using photos something Debra can look back on and share with others. Debra makes choices using photos and the internet and what I love more than anything is Debra is using her own initiative more and more. She understands it’s her home.

The circle continues to meet which Imagineer facilitates the focus is now on how to make sure support can continue effectively without mum and dad involved.

Debra is so much happier now she is healthier and she is safe doing things her own way. It is no surprise to the circle that this has been achieved without costing the LA any more money. Imagineer continues to deliver management, including rota, cover, checks, staff meetings and appraisal’s and circle facilitation.