Alan’s Story - Moving wasn’t even on the cards

Alan has lived in an Assessment and Treatment Unit for many years. Staff weren't even considering a move for him. But his advocate realised how wrong this was for him. In supporting Alan to move out of his ATU into a community placement, Alan has changed from an isolated, uncommunicative man to an outgoing, talkative one.

55 year old Alan has been living in an Assessment and Treatment Unit (ATU) for many years. Alan didn’t communicate verbally very often, and when he did it was with occasional, sometimes partial, word. Nevertheless, Alan enjoyed being around other people and attending social occasions.

Alan’s ATU was undergoing refurbishment work and he was referred to the VoiceAbility advocacy service to establish whether, while the work was taking place, it might be possible for Alan to move into a more community based, less intensive placement.

 

Hold on! Why should this be temporary?

The advocate spent time with Alan, observing his behaviour in different situations and establishing when, where and around whom he seemed to feel more comfortable. It was almost immediately clear that there was another resident who Alan had a strong dislike for, and this conflict was mutual.

The advocate reported that they felt there were no risk factors that could not be resolved with a move to the less restrictive placement. Alan didn’t actually need the intensive level of care he was receiving in the ATU and, actually, the placement would be good for him as a permanent move. The encounters he had with the other resident would also be removed.

 

Making arrangements

Arrangements were made for Alan to undertake some overnight visits to the new unit. The advocate worked closely with Alan during these to help understand and communicate what they felt were Alan’s wishes and best interests.

It soon became clear that the advocate was right to suggest a permanent move. Alan started spending more time in communal areas, smiling and making eye contact with people and he started speaking to people.

 

Alan's a different man now

It’s been six months now and Alan has made huge progress. He is speaking in full sentences and is happy to socialise with lots of people. He has joined in with different community activities with support and with other residents.

Alan lacked and still lacks the capacity to instruct an advocate, but there is no doubt as to the benefit advocacy has brought to him.