12 months ago, Fraser’s night-time care was replaced with assistive technology. It was a fraught time for Fraser, his Mum, and the Social Worker involved. How have things turned out for Fraser?
Fraser, Margaret (his mum) and Liz (his Social Worker) talk about the last 18 months:
It’s taken 18 months of difficult conversations and encouragement to get to a point where Fraser can say “I’m still a little on edge but all is good”. Margaret, smiles:“With Fraser at home for 35 years, I did all his care, so after 10 years of living on his own, when Liz spoke about replacing night-time carers with assistive technology, it was very difficult for me to accept”.
Liz takes up the story: “While carrying out an assessment of Fraser’s needs, I looked at his care records and it was clear that the night-time carers weren’t needed”. Liz knew that with advances in assistive technology, Fraser had the chance to be independent at night with the assurance that he could contact an emergency call centre if needed. Fraser laughs as he remembers trying out a large Jelly Bean Button for emergencies:“It fell on my head!” Looking back, it was an anxious time for Fraser. Conversations were difficult and Liz reminds him that“it wasn’t easy.” Fraser now wears a wrist band button that he can comfortably push if in need of emergency support. The use of assistive technology at night-time instead of sleep-in carers has been one big step along Fraser’s journey to independence.
At the time there was another big breakthrough. Fraser went to talk about volunteering at the “Signal hub” in Shrewsbury. Whilst talking, staff noticed that he wasn’t hearing everything. They suggested that he check his hearing with his GP. Fraser had hearing difficulties that could be aided. Fraser now wears hearing aids and the change in him has been “totally positive”. “I am now involved fully in discussions” he says. He has two voluntary jobs, loves to watch Shrewsbury Town play and, importantly, he spends his nights independently without carers.
Fraser explains that he now feels confident to go out on his own. “I ring Mum and say ‘I’m going mobile”. Liz and Margaret laugh. They know that for now the “fraught and anxious times”have gone. Liz says:“I think we’ve all learnt new skills in the last 18 months. Fraser is more independent. I’ve learnt the value of creatively promoting independence and Margaret is more relaxed. She’s just got back from a holiday with her own friends”.
At that point Margaret smiles and says “I was thinking of moving house to be closer to Fraser”. But Fraser laughs back and says: “No, don’t move next door. It’s taken me years to get away!”