Irene’s story: Back in the community
Irene is an individual we support at one of our supported living services in Dumfries, Scotland. With the specialist help and support of the Voyage Care team, Irene has become more independent and has recently moved into her own apartment, re-immersing herself into the community.
Life before Voyage Care
Before her brain injury, Irene travelled the world with her husband who was in the armed forces before they went on to have two children. Unfortunately, Irene experienced a traumatic period, which affected her mental health. She was eventually diagnosed with Korsakoff syndrome, a chronic memory disorder which is characterised by confusion and memory loss. Irene spent some time in a mental health hospital where she struggled to make progress. That’s when Irene’s nurses at the hospital decided to reach out to Voyage Care and we used our expertise to create a person-centred plan for Irene.
A rocky start
Irene originally moved to Abbey Gardens, one of our nursing homes, but that didn’t suit her needs and requirements. She was then referred to Dumfries Supported Living to begin her tailored brain injury rehabilitation journey and get the personalised help she truly deserved.
To ensure a smooth transition for Irene, Voyage Care worked closely with the teams at the mental health hospital, shadowing the nurses and understanding Irene’s specific needs and communication style.
When Irene moved into supported living, she needed a lot of support to familiarise herself with her new home and the people around her. This wasn’t an easy transition for Irene, and she would often pack her suitcase, to communicate with her team that she didn’t quite feel at home. Irene also found it hard to trust people and disliked people wearing face masks during the COVID pandemic, which resulted in additional challenging behaviours.
Breaking down barriers
Irene’s support team spent time getting to know her personally and worked hard to develop a sense of trust and respect. This allowed Irene to build good relationships with the team at her own pace, which was very important to her. The team ensured they put Irene at the heart of all decision making which made the transition for her less daunting. When Irene first moved into supported living, they helped her decorate her room with pictures and ornaments so that it felt like home. They also made sure she had regular contact with her friends and family, whether that meant meeting them for coffee or inviting them over to visit Irene in her new home.
Immersing Irene into the community was challenging, especially when she was living at the mental health hospital. She would start to feel anxious, and it would be difficult for her team to persuade her to go back to the facility. This pattern continued when Irene moved to our supported living service, but with lots of positive reinforcement and the use of creative communication strategies, the Voyage Care team were able to help her feel ready to return to her new home safely and comfortably.
Throughout Irene’s stay at our supported living service, her support team worked to understand what under and overstimulated her and attempted to find her perfect balance by taking a person-centred approach.
Rediscovering her talents
Irene’s support team focused on the things she likes to do, helping Irene to find her passion for life again. She has rediscovered her love of cooking, having previously worked as a chef, and has been teaching her support worker how to make various dishes such as poached eggs! She also enjoys bingo and goes out once or twice a week to the local bingo hall.
Irene has formed a great relationship with the Dumfries Supported Living team, who are all astounded by her progress.
Reconnecting with her loved ones
With our support, Irene has also been able to reconnect with her family and has strengthened her relationship with her mum, who has dementia. Her sister is over the moon with what Irene and Voyage Care have achieved together and has said that Voyage Care has given her ’her sister back!’
“She’s been able to see her mum regularly, she’s had visits from family. Before, it would have been a real problem with her Korsakoffs, it would have just broken down. But now, Irene’s starting to get her normal life back with the help of Claire and her team!”Paul Brockie, Operations Director (North)
Looking to the future
Irene has come on leaps and bounds through the specialist support she’s received at Dumfries Supported Living and has learnt how to live independently in her own home again!
She still receives round-the-clock support every day from her support workers at her home, but the team continue to work with Irene to reduce this support time.
“I’m proud of how well the team have done in getting Irene into her own apartment. The ongoing focus now is to get Irene out into the community more and overcome her anxieties surrounding this.”Claire Agnew, Service Manager at Dumfries Supported Living.
Learn more about supported living
If you’d like to learn more about our supported living properties across Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway and how we can support you, a loved one or a client to live their best lives, fill in our quick and easy enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch!