A sustained team effort means that Peter (not his real name), who is autistic, now has more control over his life including where he lives.
Peter’s team leader, support workers, family, the local authority and the Integrated Pathway Coordinator (IPC) worked in collaboration, keeping each other updated – working closely with a multi-disciplinary team to support Peter to find suitable accommodation.
Peter had lived in a house with three other people for many years but his goal, documented in his plan, was to live in his own house or flat. Peter had assaulted staff and other people he lived with. He had also self-harmed four or more times a week.
The house he lived in was in a state of disrepair and the people who lived in the house had a poor relationship with the neighbours. Lots of time had been spent looking for alternative accommodation for Peter. He had connections to the local community and it was important to him that he maintained these. Peter also had a close relationship with one of his co-tenants and wanted to maintain this relationship.
Working with Peter’s team and alongside the local authority, a flat scheme was identified that was less than a mile from Peter’s home. The scheme had six two bedroomed flats – three on the ground floor and three on the first floor. Discussions centred around whether he would like to live with others, as the flats were two bedroomed, where he might like to live, how he would like it to look and what support he might require.
The team worked with Peter and his family to ensure that his move went as smoothly as possible. Peter decided that he wished to live alone but that he also wanted to maintain his relationship with his co-tenant who would move into the flat directly opposite his. They agreed that they wished to eat their evening meal together and took it in turns to eat in each other’s flats on alternate evenings.
Peter and his co-tenant were the first tenants to move into the new flat scheme. Peter very quickly settled into his new home, which was filled with his own belongings and supported by a familiar staff team. Peter’s anxieties were quickly reduced in his new quieter environment.
IPC Chris Lamble said: “Peter’s autism means it’s important to him that he has control over his own environment. Peter likes his lampshades and pictures just a little crooked, his cup mats in a neat pile on the table and sockets switched off. When Peter shared his home with others, their activities interfered with his.”
This caused Peter some anxiety but moving into his own home meant that he now had control over his space. Staff respected Peter’s need to have this control. Although Peter requires 24 hours a day support, he can tell staff when he wishes to have time alone and the staff respect this and leave his flat. For Peter the changes have been so significant that incidents have reduced from four a week to no incidents in the two years since the move.
Peter had been supported in an environment that did not meet his sensory needs or the need for him to have control of the space he lived in. The team worked with Peter to identify ways to meet his need for choice and control over how he accessed support and maintained his environment. Peter, the staff team, his family and the local authority, worked to enable Peter to maintain his connections with the local community and his relationships with people that are important in his life. Peter’s outcomes are better because of this collaborative work.
Peter became known to social services through numerous safeguarding alerts involving staff, other people supported and self-harming. He didn’t find it easy to live with other people, even though he is very personable and greatly values relationships. After many years living in shared supported living and an associated high number of incidents, he had found it difficult to maintain positive relationships with staff and other people supported.
Regional Director Michael Hinett added: “Peter’s staff team have supported him to move on to more appropriate accommodation. This has helped Peter to develop positive and meaningful relationships with his peers and the staff who support him. The experience has been a positive one for the team, who recognise the achievement but also see the potential to provide more positive outcomes for other people they support.”