The Hillside Scheme Continues to Thrive
Pictured: Residents Tracey and Jenny with Desnie (support worker)
It has been a little over a year since Origin Housing took over the management of The Hillside supported housing scheme for people with learning disabilities.
Since then, the residents have been receiving round-the-clock dedicated support from our on-site staff, which contributed to an improved quality of life and increased happiness among our clients.
Located near Ware, Hertfordshire, the scheme consists of two houses set in a beautiful rural location. It currently supports four people living in shared accommodation. Residents enjoy their own private bedrooms but share communal spaces, bathrooms, kitchen and lounge. There is also outreach support for two more residents living independently in properties located nearby.
The Hillside scheme is aimed at people with learning disabilities such as Down's Syndrome and those who require a high level of support, especially in situations where their disability is also accompanied by mental health conditions like bi-polar disorder.
The Hillside staff support the residents in basic everyday activities such as getting up, dressing, eating and looking after their personal hygiene. These tasks might seem simple but can pose a challenge to some residents not only because of their disability or mental health problems but also because their condition has resulted in poor health, weight gain or reduced mobility.
This is why complex support is required, which includes helping the residents to make healthy choices when it comes to food and lifestyle. There are cooking classes where residents learn how to prepare healthy meals from fresh ingredients, which they buy during accompanied trips to shops. Residents are also encouraged to be more active, participating in fun fitness activities such as walking (always accompanied by staff) or water aerobics.
Assisting people with severe learning disabilities and mental health issues requires a lot of sensitivity and tact. In some cases additional support from community nurses and specialist teams is necessary. In these situations it is crucial to create a safe, predictable environment with great understanding of the person’s condition and the challenges it creates. Origin staff is well prepared to provide such support.
The Hillside residents have high levels of support needs which means that they are unlikely to ever move on to independent living arrangements. This does not mean, however, that they cannot achieve greater independence in their daily lives. Assisted by Origin staff, they continue to learn new skills such as going shopping, buying clothes and visiting hair salons, budgeting and managing their own money. Some residents do voluntary work, as in the case of residents who work in a church shop in a nearby town.
Origin staff are very proud of how much the residents have improved since the scheme was taken over from the previous provider last November. The residents are more independent and visibly happier; engaging with staff and the support on offer. The residents’ parents and relatives – who are kept informed about their progress with regular email and phone updates and visits - have also reported that they are much more satisfied with the care our residents are receiving.
This high level of satisfaction with our services was confirmed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who, following the first inspection for this service, reported that “People received care and support from staff that were trained, skilled, experienced and knowledgeable in their roles.”