Recognising a need and overcoming obstacles by building the right relationships is what drives the SSHA team every day. Dawn Northwood, Resident Liaison Officer, was at the heart of really making a difference to Nick Robbins.
At 53 Nick was living independently but with learning difficulties and nuisance neighbours he was finding life difficult. Agitated and anxious, he spent his nights at home, but stayed with his elderly parents during the day. With a father in his 80’s caring for his wife with dementia, there was a huge amount of pressure on the entire family.
Nick had made several attempts to move into supported living accomodation, but often found himself back in the family home and growing increasingly frustrated. His case was referred to Dawn Northwood, who stepped in to help. Over time she established a great relationship with Nick and gained his trust. As his anxiety improved and he became less withdrawn, Dawn started tailoring a solution to help Nick gain independence, while giving his parents some respite.
Nick’s personal circumstances meant he wasn’t automatically eligible for our traditional support services. But Dawn was determined to work around the barriers facing Nick to ensure he found the care he desperately needed. She explains, “I approached our Director to see whether our Corsers Court scheme would be an option. Leaving his environment was a huge issue for Nick, but gentle coaxing and reassurance really helped. Now Nick has support workers on site, he’s not anxious and is much more settled, so much so that we’re looking to find him a voluntary work placement. He loves his new home and is blossoming. He even cooked one of the other residents her tea, a skill he had to re-learn, which is a great achievement.”
Besides raising Nick’s self esteem, Dawn has also given his parents the freedom to enjoy their lives and relax in the knowledge that he’s safe and well cared for. Dawn’s experience, care and determination made Nick’s step to independence possible. The team are now helping him re-learn the skills he once had like cooking and cleaning, but had lost through being so distressed.
Nick says, “I’ve never been happier than I am at Corsers Court. I’ve always suffered with anxiety and panic attacks but since I’ve been here, they don’t happen so much. I think it’s because I’m much more confident and I know there’s always someone there to help me.”
Dawn concludes, “Helping find Nick another home really was a team effort. We looked ‘outside the box’ and were adaptable enough to reduce the minimum age that usually applies in our supported living schemes. This was a very grey area, where someone needed support but there was a gap with nothing available for Nick. Seeing him happy and settled makes it a very rewarding job.”