Lucy lives at a supported living service in West Norfolk and has been within institutions since childhood. She has autism, personality disorder and learning difficulties with a history of arson and assault. Lucy has always struggled with her explosive temper and violent behaviour, finding it difficult to act appropriately around others when upset. Lucy’s behaviour included storming through the office whilst being aggressive towards staff, swearing at other residents and staff, walking into a busy road in front of cars and destruction of property at her accommodation.
The team that work with Lucy, are a partnership between Norfolk & Waveney Mind, Together and St Martins. The team have worked with a consistent approach, ensuring there are boundaries and continuity in responses. This has required resilience from staff and has just begun to show some results. Lucy no longer storms through the office; she calls staff by their names when she needs them (rather than a profanity) or, if she cannot remember and calls “Oi”, when reminded of the name she will use it. She knocks on the door of the office when she wants to speak to somebody and, even when upset, she is now able to calm down and listen to guidance. Lucy used to have an incident on average weekly and often twice weekly. Now the incidents of violent or aggressive behaviour are monthly, if that.
Although Lucy still requires a great amount of support, we can show how good working practice from our team has immensely improved Lucy’s behaviour, mental health and safety. Her independence is increasing and the team is currently supporting her to take a bus to a farm 10 miles away that she likes to attend. This would have been impossible previously when she always insisted on being driven by staff. With patience and understanding, we can help Lucy to lead a better quality of life. Success isn’t necessarily when someone moves on from our services – it happens in small increments along the way.