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My Choice, My Voice – Helping Karen to become more independent

Meet Karen

Karen lives at Heather House , one of our residential care homes in Tyne & Wear. She has learning difficulties and epilepsy, so requires support with day to day care and access to the community.

Since joining Heather House nearly 14 years ago, Karen and the staff have had to carefully manage her epilepsy. This included restricting unsafe or confined areas to minimise the risk of injury if Karen were to have a seizure, however this became frustrating for Karen as she prefers to undertake activities independently.

Karen enjoys getting involved with day to day tasks at home, like doing the laundry. So, to help Karen live a lifestyle with more opportunities and less restriction, she decided to get involved in the “My Choice, My Voice” initiative.

What is My Choice, My Voice?

The team at Heather House wanted to find a way to help the people we support to grow, develop and become more independent within their own home so they introduced the “My Choice, My Voice” initiative.

The initiative encourages the people we support to get involved with parts of the daily running of the service. The aim is to help residents have more control and a sense of autonomy for their own home and living environment.

How has Karen been involved with the My Choice, My Voice initiative?

When the service introduced “My Choice, My Voice”, Karen asked if she could be involved with recruitment of staff for the home, becoming Heather House’s Recruitment Champion. Karen said, “I wanted ask the new staff what they enjoy, to see if we have anything in common, like quiz shows”.

In her role as Recruitment Champion, Karen has helped to review CVs and been involved in the interview process, as well as being part of making decisions on who was successfully offered a job.

Karen helped to recruit Terry Finnigan, pictured below, who has been with Heather House for two years.

(Karen and the team at Heather House interviewing Terry back in 2018)

As the team at Heather House became complete, and recruitment slowed down, Karen expressed an interest in helping with items being ordered and received for the home, taking on the role of Purchasing and Acquisitions Champion.

She now assists with buying items such as food shopping, home provisions and cleaning materials, as well as being involved in purchasing items to improve the service.

How has this helped Karen?

Taking on the champion roles has helped Karen to feel valued and involved at home. Creating a feeling of ownership at home means that Karen now initiates more interaction with others and actively makes suggestions for things the home could use. Karen acts as an advocate too, encouraging other people we support to bring forward suggestions.

So, what’s next for Karen? Well, she is now working towards a new goal of helping others at Heather House to become champions, and she plans to be more involved in opportunities at the home as and when they develop.

Would you like to learn more about how we can support you, your loved one or your client to achieve a goal and live a fulfilled and meaningful life? Speak to our friendly enquiry line team by calling them on 0800 0353 776 or emailing referrals@voyagecare.com.


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