Supporting Matthew to move into Redan Street during the pandemic

October 25, 2020

Throughout the COVID pandemic, our referrals team have continued to work in partnership with commissioning authorities to assess new referrals and plan a safe and successful transition into a Consensus service.

Matthew, aged 18, with a mild learning disability and autism was living back home with his mum at the time the referral was made from social services. He had previously been living in a supported living service but had absconded because he wasn’t happy there.

Due to the pandemic, a virtual person-centred assessment was set up, which involved Referrals Manager, Susan Ferrie, Service Manager of Redan Street, Melany Castillo, Matthew and his family, along with members of the learning disability mental health team and learning disability community support team.  

During the call Matthew was encouraged to share his thoughts and talk about what he likes and dislikes along with any goals that he had for the future. The other parties, who were already working with Matthew and his mum were also able to share their views and perspectives on Matthew and his needs.

Following the assessment, the Consensus team concluded that Redan Street would be able to support Matthew’s individual needs and that he would be compatible with the other individuals currently living within the service and a provisional offer was made.    

To support Matthew and his family to make a final decision, the next stage was to give them an opportunity to gain a sense of the service by organising a virtual viewing of the service and what would potentially be Matthew’s new self-contained flat.

During the virtual show round, Service Manager, Melany conducted a live video tour, starting from the front of the service and through the communal living areas as well as throughout each room within the flat. Melany also sent them photographs of the service and the flat and provided Mathew’s dad with the measurements of each room so that they could support Matthew with planning and buying his furniture.

In July, a final decision was made to accept the offer and the Redan team began planning a safe transition for Matthew into his new home.   

Matthew is supported by a day centre three times a week and so it was planned that the team there would support Matthew during a visit to Redan Street.

During the visit, Matthew and the support team from the day centre followed the strict infection control measures in place, including donning appropriate PPE, conducting the meeting in the garden and observing strict social distancing at all times.

On his second visit, the team created a simple support plan for Matthew based on reports provided by his mental health team and community support team. Melany also provided Matthew with pictures of each of the day and night staff who would be supporting him so that he could become familiar with their faces.

For the two weeks, prior to his move in date, Matthew attended the service twice a week for six hours to meet with and interact with the support team and enable the team to build a rapport with him. During these visits, the team would also take Matthew out around the town so that he could familiarise himself with the local area and start to interact with the local community. They would also take him on visits to his favourite places, such as Manningtree, where he loves to watch the different trains as they go by.

Matthew moved into the service in early August. Initially, he found the settling in period quite difficult and if his family told him they were coming for a visit on a specific day, Matthew would not be able to focus on anything else until that day arrived.

Working with the family, it was agreed that a better approach for Matthew would be for the family to let Melany know when they were planning their next visit but not to specify it to Matthew, that way Matthew was soon able to focus on the activities he was doing in the here and now and enjoying what he was doing.

By the fourth week, Matthew was a lot more settled and relaxed. Matthew had been initially anxious about his mum. Although it was a risk, the team supported Matthew having his own phone which his family gave to him. This has also helped him to feel more settled because he can now ring to see how his mum is and if she says she is out and about and will call him back later, he can then move on with his day without consistently worrying.

Matthew mum and dad’s biggest fear was that Matthew would try to run away, as he had done from his previous service and that he would end up getting hurt.  They are over the moon with Matthew’s progress and said they have never seen their son so settled like this, which has given them peace of mind. They recently took Matthew for a meal and couldn’t believe how settled he was.

In September, Matthew achieved his goal of starting a University course. Initially Melany and the team were a little nervous because it was another change for him, but he has coped really well. The team ensured that the University had adequate Covid-19 procedures in place so that Matthew would remain safe there and organised for a taxi to take him to and from the campus. He is studying a course about animals and when he comes home, he has great joy in telling the team all about his day. 

The team continuously give Matthew positive reinforcement, repeating to him that he is doing really well and Matthew has now started to give that positive reinforcement to himself by saying, “you’re doing well Matthew,” and will also say to his mum and dad “I’m doing well here at Redan Street.

Although the pandemic has created additional challenges, by flexing and adapting their approach, the team were able to successfully progress Matthew’s admission and transition him safely into Redan Street.

The team are continuing to learn and understand Matthew more each day. They are extremely proud of him and the progress that he has already made and look forward to continuing to support him as he develops more confidence and independence.

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