We have a service user in our home who is on an independent living program to enable him to move on from full time residential care. As such he needs to develop skills in order to live independently. As carers we supervise and monitor his movements, for instance, whilst cooking, and only step in should an action cause a risk of harm to himself or others, unless he asks for advice. This individual is ‘allowed’ to make mistakes in order to reflect afterwards what may have gone wrong and what could be done next time to avoid the same mistake.
This service user does not process information immediately, due to learning difficulties, and needs time to analyse what has happened. In order to support him here he may just want some advice from staff to whom he can return and re-question. Or he may have information written down for him which he can go away and read, if necessary, return to staff if there is still something of which he is unsure. As this individual does not drink enough and becomes dehydrated, we have devised a chart which he marks when he has had a drink. We did this through discussion with the individual, on what would work for him, which means he had personal input and can now monitor this independently without further intervention from staff.
With this individual carrying out his own daily tasks he is developing skills and increasing self-confidence and well-being which will help him to progress and hopefully move on from full time residential care.
Occasionally there may be conflict in the way events are carried out. Initially, our service user was given a shopping budget which he was to spend in order to have food for the week. This he did without pre-planning and subsequently his goods were not necessarily nutritious. Although the individual has said he wants to buy goods that he likes it has been advised to him that he needs to think of a healthy balance incorporating some of the less healthy along with a nutritionally balanced diet. He now makes a weekly list for meals which he bulk cooks from fresh, and freezes, alongside some of his preferred snacks, and his fluids are of a lower sugar content.
It is important to continue to praise everything an individual has achieved. On days when things are not going to plan it can be quite easy for the service user to give up. Discuss the situation privately with the individual to see if there is a problem, remind him of how far he has come and see if another way of approaching the plan would help regain confidence. Everyone has ‘off days’ – support to work through these will help maintain self-worth and well-being.