Learning Disability Week 2019 is the 17th to 23rd of June. POhWER will share one client story each day to show how we support people with learning disabilities.

Today's story is:

Logan’s story

Logan has a learning disability and is detained at a low secure unit under section 3 of the Mental Health Act. He has been there for 5 years and is currently living on a ward designed for individuals with autism. Logan has 1:1 staff at all times. Logan is a non-instructive patient which means he is unable to voice his views, hopes, concerns and complaints to an advocate. Where a person cannot instruct, the advocate will establish their views, wishes and concerns through observing the person as they go about their day and speaking to the people around the client to find out more about them.

 

Linda, a POhWER advocate, attended Logan’s ward for a drop in and was conducting observations in the communal dining room when she noticed Logan playing with the cables on a set of speakers that he had. She observed that the filaments of the wire were showing where the plastic coating had come away. Logan requested some sellotape from a member of staff to fix the wire. The member of staff said that they wouldn’t be able to tape the wires as sellotape was not allowed on the ward. He also said that sellotape wouldn’t fix the speakers anyway if they had stopped working because the wire was broken. Logan was unhappy about this and became visibly frustrated.

 

Due to Logan’s understanding and ability to positively challenge the decision Linda decided to support Logan to voice his request for something to fix the wire on his speakers. She challenged the decision made by the staff member. She questioned if there was any kind of tape that was allowed that Logan could use. She was informed that paper based tapes such as masking tape were allowed on the ward. Linda questioned if there would be any harm or risk in allowing Logan to tape his speaker wire, even if it wouldn’t necessarily fix the speaker. She explained that this may support Logan to understand that the speakers couldn’t be fixed and that he would need to buy new ones, and may also stop Logan from becoming more frustrated. Staff agreed that there was no risk associated with allowing Logan to tape the wires on his speakers.

 

Through Linda’s support the staff member was able to see that this issue was very meaningful to Logan and a simple no was not going to help the situation. The staff member took on board what had been asked and as a result sourced some masking tape in order to support Logan. Following Logan being supported to tape the wires on his speaker, Logan seemed to become happier as he thought that the wires were fixed. Logan became less repetitive and appeared to be less frustrated.