Amber, in her 20s, is blind, uses a wheelchair and has a severe learning disability. She communicates through noises, body language and facial expressions.
Amber lives in purpose-built accommodation, shared with other people with learning disabilities, close to the coast in Portsmouth. She started being supported by Affinity Trust in late 2016.
Before being supported by Affinity Trust, Amber had spent the previous two years in her room, becoming distressed when in her wheelchair or when being hoisted.
Our staff thought Amber could be better supported. They worked with the occupational therapist and sensory products company Rompa to create a padded area in Amber’s room. Here she could roll around safely.
We also arranged for Amber to have a new, customised wheelchair. But she resisted sitting in it, arching her back and holding herself stiffly.
We tried a number of ways to put Amber at ease. We did this in stages: first swaddling her in a blanket, then using a sling, then using a hoist too. After four months, Amber was able to sit in her wheelchair, and leave her room.
We put support plans in place for each stage, recorded Amber’s reactions, discussed her progress in team meetings, and took photos to share with her mother and care manager.
Leaving her room has allowed Amber to experience new activities. She now enjoys a weekly visit from an aromatherapist, eats alongside her housemates, and has been out in the community.
Amber also enjoys listening to music – staff sometimes sing to her – and spending time in her garden, smelling the flowers and feeling the wind on her face.