Last Christmas was the first time in 14 years that Alex (not his real name) had spent the season with his family. It was the first time his parents had come to his house for Christmas dinner, the first time the 46-year-old had shopped for the meal, prepared it, laid the table and chosen the wine.
The event would have been inconceivable just a year before when, Alex, who has a severe learning disability, was living in a care home in Kent. He had already spent many years in a long-stay hospital ward. His challenging behaviour ranged from kicking to spitting and usually resulted in him being restrained by four members of staff, one pinning down each of his limbs, for up to 45 minutes.
Alex’s story, which outlines his path to appropriate social care, is among the powerful testimonies published in a report today by the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG). I was involved in producing the report for the VODG, which brings together more than 50 voluntary sector disability organisations, and I also manage the group’s blog.
Another Way: transforming people’s lives through good practice in social care, is a response to the Winterbourne View scandal earlier this year which involved the abuse of people with complex learning disabilities at a care unit in Bristol.
Gavin Harding, who co-chairs the National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities and chairs self-help advocacy group Voices for People, writes in the foreword to the publication: “There is another way, which is presented in this report. It’s about putting people with learning disabilities and their families at the centre of planning and delivery of care.” Harding adds: “Care is about people, it’s not just a process.”
The VODG report outlines the key elements that can contribute to high quality, cost-effective care.
You can read more about the report via this blogpost.