Melvyn is a 66 year old man with Learning Disabilities and Down’s syndrome.

Melvyn was always an active man with a cheeky sense of humour – he loved to pull faces at people and sing to them. He had lived with his supported living housemate, Peter, for over 20 years and the two were like brothers.

Over the last six years POhWER’s advocate, Jill, has worked with Melvyn several times as his Independent Advocate. She has supported Melvyn to be as involved as possible in best interest decisions being made in important changes in his life such as serious medical treatments, and where he will live, and represented his wishes and feelings to decision makers. Jill has also supported him through care planning and reviews.

During lockdown Melvyn’s eyesight had gradually deteriorated until he couldn’t see at all, and he had lost the confidence to move around with staff support. Jill advocated for Melvyn in a best interests’ decision about whether he should have laser eye surgery and his consultant decided that he should, despite concerns about him interfering with his eyes, which could mean the procedure would be unsuccessful. Unfortunately Melvyn then developed an infected abscess that required urgent surgery. After a stay in hospital Melvyn was temporarily discharged to a nursing home to recover.

By this point Melvyn was extremely withdrawn and almost completely immobile. He spent his day sitting in a chair and the nursing home manager reported that Melvyn did not even appear to recognise Peter when he visited.

The Ophthalmic Consultant still felt that Melvyn was a suitable candidate for cataract surgery but warned that there could be a wait of up to two years. Melvyn’s Social Worker found out that he had some money left in trust for him when his mother died, and investigated the option of Melvyn having eye surgery privately. This went ahead and Melvyn recovered his sight.

When Jill visited Melvyn after the operation to speak to him about moving back to supported living accommodation with Peter, he grinned and pulled faces and sang ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ to Jill. Melvyn has also had physiotherapy and can now walk independently again. Best of all was his reaction when Peter next visited and there was much giggling and hugging. Preparations are now been made for Melvyn to move back to live with Peter which Jill advocated for. Jill said “It has been so heart-warming to see the difference in Melvyn since he had the surgery.”