In 2009 Matthew’s* life turned upside down when he was cycling back from his girlfriend’s house and became the victim of a tragic road traffic accident. After being hit by a car, Matthew suffered multiple spinal fractures and severe brain injury. After six years of being in an altered state of consciousness, Matthew started to wake up and engage with the world around him.
Before joining Glasshouse Hill, he spent some time in a rehabilitation unit in Nottingham where the staff believed he had reached the level of recovery he was capable of. Matthew had other ideas…the team welcomed him into Glasshouse Hill in January 2019, and he has progressed continually since the day he arrived.
When Matthew arrived, he was unable to mobilise independently due to left-sided paralysis and weakness in his right side. He communicated through making sounds and relied on the team for his personal care, nutrition and hydration needs. Staff saw Matthew’s potential and continued a person-centred care plan to enable progression.
Onwards and upwards
As part of his person-centred support plan, we worked with Matthew and his therapists to create flashcards so Matthew could make his own decisions regarding meals, drinks, clothes and music. After discovering his love for 80’s music, we ensured Matthew had access to instruments. He likes to perform with his instruments, especially the drum, which he learnt from his music therapy sessions. He is also a keen gamer with a competitive streak on Xbox with an adaptive controller and loves a game or two of snakes and ladders using his adapted dice, you’ve got to keep an eye on him though as he likes to cheat when the team isn’t looking! Matthew now has a tablet, which has given him even more independence! He uses it to communicate with family and friends and control his television. An IP consultant comes in weekly and supports Matthew to programme his tablet to his requirements. When he has phone calls with family members he can control his tablet to say what he’s programmed – Matthew often tells his family what he’s been up to that week and what he’s looking forward to. Staff can communicate with Matthew over his table and love hearing the bad joke of the day!
He has control over every part of his life from showering, getting dressed, the clothes he wears, the places he goes and the TV he watches. Matthew recently purchased a vehicle on lease for six months to test if he’d like to purchase a vehicle in the future. Since having the vehicle has been out to the bird sanctuary and enjoys taking his mum out on day trips.
The future is looking bright
At Glasshouse Hill we believe that not being able to verbally communicate doesn’t mean you have nothing to say. The day of Matthew’s accident may have changed his life forever, but he is always smiling and has the most infectious laugh. Staff and Matthew have recently been exploring the possibility of Matthew purchasing his own flat and having his own staff team. Staff are currently looking at visiting an adapted bungalow for short breaks to ease Matthew into the transition.
Matthew, his family, case manager and therapy team are so pleased with how far Matthew has come and know that with the support and teamwork, he will only continue to improve.
*Some of the details have been changed for confidentiality reasons.