‘Just Enough Support’ at Options for Supported Living

Malcolm has seen a real increase in his independence recently, as staff have supported him to spend more time alone. We all need space to chill out and relax, and most of us get plenty. Sometimes for the people we support this is not the case. Malcolm was only getting time to himself, and away from his support staff when he was anxious, sometimes using challenging behaviour as a way of getting some space.

If Malcolm became anxious or upset, staff would give him the time to gather his thoughts. So staff looked to enable Malcolm to spend time on his own and enjoy it, without him having to become anxious. The relationship that Malcolm and his dedicated support staff have built meant that Malcolm feels comfortable and confident so that when he wants some space he can just ask his staff, without becoming agitated or anxious. This empowered Malcolm to take ownership of his home and has increased his self-awareness.

This difference is a small change which has had a big impact on Malcolm’s life, giving Malcolm control. This became most clear when a friend arrived unannounced at Malcolm’s home. The visitor pulled up outside of the kitchen window while Malcolm was making a cup of tea. Malcolm waved and went to the front door to let them in. Malcolm and his friend sat down and chatted. It was only later that the visitor realised that Malcolm’s support staff were upstairs, having retreated to give Malcolm some space. This was one of the most relaxed visits that the pair had ever had.

The staff team continue to support Malcolm in this way, listening to what he wants, and finding ways to make it happen. We believe that all people should take responsibility for what we can and ought to do for ourselves, as a way of increasing independence for the people we support. To achieve this, we have a Lead on ‘Just Enough Support’ who has the responsibility of promoting and increasing independence for the people we support. They look to introduce new ideas on how best we can support someone to be as independent as possible and develop a culture within Options which promotes independence.