This is Tom's story about being supported by Choice Care
Choice Care has been providing specialist care and support for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions for over 25 years. Our care teams offer expertise across a wide range of specialisms, including supporting individuals with complex, profound and multiple needs and those who present behaviour that challenges.
Categorising complex needs is difficult. Many people have more than one diagnosis, yet needs and challenges are always unique to the individual. Our homes and services frequently support people with multiple conditions, and we tailor our approach accordingly. However, at a high level, our services are structured to support:
We provide tailored care and specialist support for people with mild, moderate and more severe learning disabilities, often with associated complex needs such physical disabilities, mental health conditions and neurological disorders including epilepsy and dementia. Whatever their needs, we treat everybody as an individual, with complete dignity and respect, empowering them to lead safe, purposeful and happy lives and, where possible, to achieve positive outcomes.
Our care teams are hugely experienced in supporting adults with learning disabilities. Positive Behaviour Support is central to our approach. Our in-house PBS team works closely with staff in all of our homes to monitor the behavioural, emotional and psychological needs of those we care for. The team takes a holistic approach, considering an individual's life history, physical health, personality and preferences, as well as their emotional needs, to identify the best ways of supporting them. The PBS team provides specialist training for staff, tailored where particular needs are recognised, to ensure all relevant information is included in individual care plans, promoting safety, consistency and reliability.
As part of a multi-disciplinary team, we also partner with a broad range of external professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, speech and language therapists, social workers, care managers, behavioural nurses and occupational therapists.
Staff use a range of tools and resources to promote positive communication. We have a history of pioneering new approaches to learning disability care, including PBS itself, PROACT-SCIPr-UKÂ® and Intensive Interaction, and employ a variety of assistive technologies to support people's safety, privacy and independence.
Importantly, everyone we support has access to a wide range of engaging and meaningful activities, tailored to individual capabilities, to promote social, vocational and life skills and help to build confidence and self-esteem. Every Choice Care home has a Day Activity Coordinator who develops personalised activity programmes. In a recent survey 100% of our residents said they enjoy their activity programme, taking part, on average, in 12 separate activities a week. Through individually tailored support of this kind, we provide a pathway for many from a residential environment to more independent living.
We support people with a wide variety of mental health needs, including depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar and personality disorders, many of whom are referred to us with a history of hospital admissions. We provide a comprehensive range of mental health services and have a proven track record of helping people to progress along a planned pathway to a more independent lifestyle - living in their own home, accessing community support and managing their own mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Our support plans are based on recovery and, as part of that process, the achievement of individual goals. The principle of self-empowerment is critical; supporting people to take responsibility for making informed decisions about the important things that affect their lives. Through specialist one-to-one support, we work with each person to identify their needs, challenges and aspirations, to help them build enduring resilience and long-term self-management strategies.
We work closely with colleagues in community health teams and the social services to create personalised care plans with achievable goals, monitored through regular reviews. We employ tools such as Recovery Star to measure achievement in partnership with those we support. Individuals set their own goals and can see clear evidence of their progress over time. Their involvement in the process helps to reinforce motivation, enhance skills and confidence and assists them in identifying new objectives, and the support needed to achieve them.
A recent organisation-wide assessment indicated that 90% of people accessing our services with mental health conditions had shown improvement, or remained at an improved level, as measured at their last review.
We act strictly within the guidelines of the Mental Health Act in supporting the various needs of those we support. These guidelines ensure we uphold the rights of individuals and assure their safety, as well as that of those around them, working to models of least restrictive practice.
Our services provide a vital link in an individual's care pathway from detention or in-patient services to enabling them to live safely and successfully in the community, achieving their personal ambitions and attaining stability in their mental health. The length of time someone requires our support will depend on their personal circumstances. Different people achieve stages of recovery at different rates, and to varying degrees. Our emphasis is always to support individuals to progress at their own pace, with the ultimate aim of helping them to live independently in the community.
We support many people on the autistic spectrum, ranging from those who are able to live relatively independent lives to those with accompanying learning disabilities or mental health conditions who require more intensive support. Led by our Positive Behaviour Support Team, our approach is highly personalised, developing individual care plans and adapting environments to recognise the specific needs and preferences of the individual.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental condition affecting how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they experience the world around them. Autism is on a spectrum because there is a wide variation in the type and severity of the symptoms experienced by people with ASD. Treatments and services can improve a person's symptoms and ability to function.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5, a person is diagnosed with ASD when they have a dyad of impairment. The dyad of impairment is when someone experiences difficulties with communication and interaction with other people, and has restricted interests and repetitive behaviours. People with ASD also are more likely to have co-morbid conditions such as learning disabilities and other neurodevelopmental disorders and complex needs. Again all these are on a spectrum with varying degrees of severity. All these have a bi-directional interplay with ASD. Sometimes these difficulties result in the individual displaying behaviours that challenge. These are because the person is trying to communicate their needs and wants in ways that they know how to and not necessarily how they want to express themselves.
At Choice, we adopt a person-centred approach; involving the individual, their family members, professionals and staff to provide support to the person to help them develop and enhance functional abilities and skills to improve their quality of life. Through this approach, each person has a bespoke Care Plan and a Positive Behaviour Support Plan that is reviewed regularly to reflect the individual's development and progress. These plans detail every aspect of that person, including how they should be supported, what their likes and dislikes are, how their environment should be made suitable for them, and how to ensure all their needs, from basic physiological to emotional, psychological and physical well-being, are met. The environment can include the person's room, home and academic surroundings. We incorporate recommendations from Occupational Therapists, Sensory Assessments, Speech and Language Therapy, external Psychologists and Psychotherapists. We encourage self-confidence and independence, and have a track record of helping people to progress to more independent supported living environments.
We use a Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) approach, promoted by our in-house Positive Behaviour Support Team. PBS promotes inclusivity, facilitates choices, seeks an understanding of the function of behaviours, and provides behaviour management guidelines for staff. It emphasises proactive and preventative support. Our Positive Behaviour Support Team comprises Clinical Leads, Senior Behaviour Practitioners, and Behaviour Practitioners that collectively bring a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience. The team has a strong academic and professional background, mostly with BSCs, MSCs, including Clinical Psychologists and CBT therapists.
We offer specialist expertise across a broad variety of learning disabilities, mental health conditions and associated complex needs, including physical and health conditions. Many of these are shown in the index below. However, this is not an exhaustive list, and with the support of our in-house clinical team, there are additional, rarer conditions we are able to support. If you don't see a specific condition included, please contact us to learn if we can help. Please note that not all of our services are suitable for all conditions.
Many of these are shown in the index below - click on the button to reveal the list.
With over 25 years' experience, we have a history of introducing pioneering approaches to specialist care. We frequently find solutions where other providers are unable or unwilling to offer appropriate or timely support.
We talk to Sarah, Manager at our sister company in Wales, Care Without Compromise