Our son Wil* moved into a Voyage Care residential home in Somerset 10 years ago, after finishing his education at a special needs school.
At the time, he had developed extremely challenging behaviour, associated with autism, severe learning disabilities and a history of epileptic seizures. It was difficult for us to find a suitable residential home for him, so it was a great relief when the Voyage Care staff decided he could have a place at the home in Somerset.
Over the years since Wil* has been with Voyage Care, he has become much calmer and less prone to outbursts. The home has large, light and airy rooms, and is situated in the countryside, with lovely gardens that are safe and secure for him to play in. He particularly enjoys the swing, and is happy to be out on it for long spells.
Wil* shows great affection for the staff team, and enjoys it when he has one to one time with a member of his key team, completing simple puzzles, playing with puppets, and looking at books or colouring. Just recently, he has been enjoying massages from a therapist, working within the home.
As well as activities organised by the staff, he loves to go out for drives in a minibus, sometimes for long journeys. He recently had a visit to Longleat, to see the animals – by all accounts, he had a great day out. Sometimes he is driven to a local beach, where he runs on the sand, exploring the shore. All this activity means he works up an appetite, and his favourite treat is burger and chips at McDonalds with a McFlurry ice cream to follow!
Wil* has regular visits to the family home for a few days at a time. While he seems to enjoy being with us, he is always pleased to return his Voyage Care home.
On our return to the care home we pull into the driveway and park the car, and despite Wil* being unable to communicate verbally, we can tell by his reactions that he is glad to be back. He scrambles quickly out of the vehicle and races to the front door. His face lights up when he sees the staff team, and he shows great delight to be back with them.
A while ago, Wil* had to attend the local hospital for intensive dental treatment, and had three wisdom teeth extracted and two fillings, plus a scale and polish on his teeth.
This could have been an absolute trial for him to undergo, but thanks to the exceptional planning of the home manager, deputy manager and his key workers everything went to plan. We were all astounded at the way Wil* bounced back from his ordeal. In fact, all the staff give 100 per cent when they are on duty, providing care to Wil* and the other residents. With extreme patience and understanding, they persevere in persuading Wil* to try out new experiences, but always at his pace.
*Some of the details have been changed for confidentiality reasons.