Continuing to meet the needs of people with highly complex needs at Huntley
Re-investing in and re-purposing our services to ensure they continue to meet the needs of the existing individuals we support is a key focus for Consensus’ Development & Partnerships team.
Following an internal review, it was identified that Huntley near Worthing in West Sussex, required refurbishment and reinvestment to make it fit for purpose for the individuals living at the service as well as to meet any future local need.
Here, we talk to Guy Page, Head of Development and Partnerships, Wales and South, about the service’s recent transformation.
Huntley is a residential service that provides support and accommodation for up to nine individuals with learning disabilities and other complex health needs, including physical disabilities.
Subsequent to the review, it was identified that the stairs up to the first floor of the service were a risk factor and meant that a room that was currently vacant was unsuitable to meet the needs of the local area, so Guy and the team decided to look at lift technology and whether it would be possible to put in a lift.
Guy also engaged with the local authority, West Sussex, to ensure that any changes that were made to the Service would meet local need and they confirmed that the addition of a lift would be beneficial.
Guy said, “Technology has really moved on in recent times. Previously to add a lift to a property you would need to build a whole lift shaft but now these platforms lifts take up a lot less space.
“Huntley has a big open hallway which was unused space, so we decided to put the lift in there so that the first floor would become totally accessible.”
“This has also been of great benefit to one of our supported individuals, who lives on the first floor as previously when she had been admitted to hospital, they were unable to discharge her until she had gained better mobility and could climb the stairs however, because we have now future proofed the service, if she required another hospital stay, she could be discharged far more quickly.”
In addition, the team looked at how they could improve the quality of the service by better utilising the available space. “Next to the available bedroom on the first floor there was a standalone bathroom that used to be an en-suite to the vacant room and still had the door there from the bedroom, so it was just a case of re-opening that entrance so that it became an en-suite to that bedroom.
“There was also a room next to the bathroom, which was not really being used as most of the supported individuals could not access the first floor (prior to the introduction of the lift) so we converted this into a communal bathroom to give people additional facilities.”
In addition, Guy and the team were also able to add a new studio apartment with an en-suite bedroom on the second floor. Guy explains, “The service manager’s office had been located on the second floor of the property, but the manager felt they were too detached from the service and so we converted a spare room on to the ground floor into their office instead bringing them right in to the heart of the service.”
“We then converted the space on the second floor into a studio apartment. It is a lovely space and would be perfect for an individual who is mobile and wants to take their first steps towards moving to supported living in the future, as it would give provide them with an opportunity to develop skills and independence in a safe and supportive environment.”
Moving onto the ground floor, the kitchen was a legacy from when the Service was first built. It was an awkward shape and meant that supported individuals with physical disabilities were unable to access it, so the team decided to knock down two of the walls and completely transform it.
“It has made a huge difference. The kitchen is now a large, airy space that supported individuals can access and use to learn cooking skills and prepare their own meals with support.”
“We have also added a rise and fall table, which is actually a standing desk table from IKEA that can be moved up and down manually from a sit to stand position. It means that whether an individual has a wheelchair or a walking frame, we can bring the table up or down to them.”
“The table can also be taken from the kitchen into different areas of the house, which makes it extremely versatile for activities in the garden.”
“As a result, of the re-investment and refurbishment, the service is now more accessible, it is future proofed, modernised and fit for purpose for the supported individuals,” adds Guy.