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Desmond's Story

1st January 2012

Tags: advocacy, caring, desmond, learning disability, medication

Desmond is a complex gentleman with autism and learning difficulties. He finds it difficult to communicate with others and is often misunderstood because of his obsessive behaviour. Desmond has a loving Mother who often struggles to accept that medication may help to alleviate some of Desmond’s anxieties.

During a review of Desmond’s life, an assessment was undertaken by a psychiatrist. Desmond had never been prescribed medication before but the psychiatrist recommended some to see if it could help Desmond to cope better and manage his behaviour. Soon after, however, Desmond’s mother began to feel the medication was negatively affecting Desmond’s personality and she made a formal complaint to stop Desmond taking it.

Without the medication, Desmond found he could not manage his obsessions. The Care Manager was worried about his wellbeing and decided to contact an advocate and see if they could identify what Desmond wanted from the situation. The advocate spent time with Desmond and got to know what was important to him. They discovered that he enjoyed driving and being able to access the community. Without the medication to stabilise his behaviour, he was not be able to do this.

The advocate worked with the care professionals and Desmond’s mother to explain that taking him off medication would prevent him from doing the things he wanted. As a solution, the psychiatrist suggested that they could try a different medication which could alleviate some of Desmond’s symptoms without suppressing his personality. Desmond’s mother and the Care Manager agreed to try this and over the next few months, Desmond’s Advocate visited regularly to observe how Desmond was coping.

Desmond’s anxiety and obsessions had been reduced and he was once again able to access the community. The new medication was very successful and gave Desmond much more independence. His mother was also happier as she thought the medication suited Desmond’s needs much better.

The involvement of an advocate in Desmond’s case made it possible for Desmond to keep doing the things he enjoyed, whilst at the same time managing his behaviour. His mother was also able to feel more relaxed about Desmond’s care. Before the advocate had become involved, decisions were being made about Desmond that were not appropriate for his needs and the complaints and re-reviewing of the case was costing vital time and money. Advocacy helped minimise this cost and a solution was reached that benefited everyone.

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