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secure setting community supported living hospital women mental health

Lifeways was asked by a council in Devon to support three young women and an older woman who had all been in a long-stay secure hospital.

Each of the individuals lived with complex mental health conditions, including eating disorders, emotionally unstable personality disorder, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

Working with a property provider, Lifeways secured a four-bedroom bungalow with a converted loft room. The bungalow was adapted so that each individual could have their own en-suite bathroom.

When the bungalow was ready, all four women moved in. Members of the Support Team stayed in the bungalow overnight, with more team members on the property at all times during the day.

The four people we supported each had their own one-to-one support to access the community and to be accompanied to therapy sessions. All colleagues had been trained for specialised mental health support, including eating disorders and personality disorders.

Feeling comfortable

Initially, each of the four people we supported spent much of their time in their own rooms.

But gradually, they started to feel comfortable with each other and spent more time together in the sitting room and kitchen - or in the garden during nice weather.

Two of the people we supported also liked to go out into the community together.

As they developed friendships, they became very supportive of each other.

While the Support Team kept up its night-and-day support, over the six months three individuals lived there, their one-to-one support hours decreased.

Moving on

Today, all four have moved on, and are successfully living in the community.

One went to live with her family. One lives in another supported living service, where they require less support. One moved to a Lifeways flat scheme, where they live by themselves, and another now lives with her boyfriend.

Due to the success of these placements, Lifeways were asked by the same council to set up two other properties using the same support model as the bungalow.

Why Lifeways’ support worked for these individuals:

  • Moving from a long-stay hospital to an environment of having other individuals and the Support Team around them gave the people we support a feeling of security and safety.
  • The Support Team were available to facilitate one-to-one work and group work to achieve positive outcomes. In the bungalow, we saw the people we supported cook together, access the community together and hold celebrations together. As three of the individuals had historical debt, they worked together on successful budgeting and started to clear their debts.
  • The people we supported had the time to increase their independence and to work towards living alone with less support.
  • The people we supported had received support and training from a Lifeways Mental Health Team.
  • The people we supported had a consistent Support Team, meaning they have built up trust with them - and felt able to talk openly about any worries or concerns.
  • If for any reason, one of the people we supported had a relapse and needed to be readmitted to hospital for a short stay, they had reassurance that they would be able to return to their home and continue their path to full recovery.
  • Having a step-by-step approach to full independence gave the people we support and professionals time to monitor their full recovery - and for the individuals to gain confidence that great outcomes can be achieved and that their journey can be celebrated!

Lifeways aims to continue offering extraordinary support to enable adults with diverse and complex needs live fulfilling and independent lives in the community.

Find support in your area, or get in touch.

Please note: The image above this article is for illustrative purposes only. It does not depict the women mentioned in this article.

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