Christopher’s story

Reside has helped tenant Christopher settle into his own adapted home

Our tenant Christopher, aged 38, has Down’s Syndrome and autism. After years of disrupted living in care homes and hospitals, he now has his own home and a dedicated support team thanks to the ground-breaking Transforming Care programme.

Christopher lives near Sunderland in a detached bungalow and has been there for two years. He likes his home: “It’s alright!” he says. He’s also a big fan of Sunderland AFC.

When he was 12, Christopher was moved out of his family home and spent the next 14 years living in a series of residential care homes and hospital settings. Unfortunately, however, they were all unsuccessful at dealing with his heightened anxiety and challenging behaviour. His mum Sandra found it particularly difficult watching Christopher being moved around. She says: “He couldn’t stay with us, because it put both myself and my younger daughter at risk. But the last hospital he ended up in was 30 miles away from me and he was there for six years.”

Keen to help Christopher find somewhere more permanent to live, the hospital he was staying in liaised with specialist support provider Orbis and, thanks to funding provided by the NHSE Transforming Care program, Christopher finally moved into his own home in July 2019.

“Orbis said they could manage him, and that’s when Reside came into the picture,” explains Sandra. “Reside bought the house and made it ‘Christopher-safe’.”

For Sandra, the most difficult part of the transition process was having faith that the support provider could deliver the care Christopher so desperately needed. She says: “It was hard to believe that they could actually pull it off. Over the years, we’ve been let down by so many people, you know. But Orbis have been fantastic. Finding them was absolutely wonderful.”

She continues: “With Reside on board to purchase and adapt the property, it has been a winning combination.  It’s great that Christopher now has his own house, his own staff and that continuity. It’s been a real success as far as I’m concerned.”

Giving Christopher his own adapted home and a calm environment, with a support team that he trusts, has brought about great changes in his behaviour. Orbis manager, Chris Watson, who leads Christopher’s support team, explains the difference he’s seen over the last two years.

“Chris understands banter with staff and has a laugh with us – that would never have happened in hospital. He treats this as his home, for example he relaxes on the settee, washes his dishes, puts his washing in the tumble dryer and hangs his clothing outside,” he says. “These are the types of things he has learnt to do in the time he’s been here. He communicates well with us and feels respected.”

Sandra has also noticed a dramatic change in her relationship with her son. “He now lives just a few miles away from me so we have lovely visits. And we get quality time together as there are no disruptions. He also enjoys being around the staff, because they are like family to him.”

So with the help of Transforming Care, Christopher is now settled with a support team that he and his mum regard as extended family. He even went away with staff last month on holiday in Northumbria to a log cabin. One of the highlights for Christopher? “The hot tub!” he says.

You can find out more about how Reside is involved with the NHSE Transforming Care programme here.



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