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We Wish You A Person Centred Christmas

December 5, 2012

‘Tis the season to be jolly, so just for once, I thought I’d write a blog brimming with Yuletide cheer. The decorations are up and the tree is dressed here at our current residential placement. On the big day, we will be toasting our independence and celebrating the choice and flexibility in our lives by chosing between a tub of Cheeselets and a tub of cheese footballs (or “cheesy bollocks” as Steven calls them, in tribute to Neil Morrisey from Men Behaving Badly). Daringly, in the finest person centred tradition, we may even opt to eat both tubs. And to hell with the Pringles.

I’ve self assessed our Christmas needs; turkey, trifle, Mr Bean DVD and fed them into the resource allocation system. And guess what? Out popped a tin of spam, a tapioca pudding and a cine film of Benny Hill on the beach at Frinton on Sea. Unfortunately, Panel are out on their Christmas Do, but if the spam doesn’t completely meet our needs, I can always enter into negotiations with an alternative service provider for an equitable chunk of luncheon meat.

Before the big day arrives, we anticipate the visit of three wise men bearing their own seasonal gifts. The transformation manager will arrive with a gift wrapped indicative budget, empowering us to creatively cut back on the support we receive next year. The housing manager will descend angelically with an eviction notice, but don’t worry, I’ve got my eye on a well-appointed supported living stable. And bringing up the rear will be the Personalisation Champion with a lovely Christmassy bill from the fairer charging policy team, wishing us a prosperous 2013. It will be a delightful gathering and too much to hope that they’ll stay and join in with our “Stop The Cavalry” karaoke.

Amidst the cards we receive from our family, friends and circle of support will be a glorious parcel from our cuddly in-house psychologist; a selection of festive logs. Behaviour logs. Diet Logs. Incident Report logs. Goodness me, we’ll be well replenished with all those logs.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a nice board game. No Cluedo or Operation for us at the community living unit. We’ve got a personalised occupational therapy game – “How To Unwrap a Present in 24 Monitored Stages”. It’s absorbing. You score the service user on a scale from 0 to 5 taking factors into account like: concentration capacity; degree of independence shown; understanding of task. Imagine my glee if I can score Steven a resounding “5” as he unwraps his Gipsy Kings’ CD (Don’t ask – he’s been requesting it for months). It’s a shame that Christmas Day is for one day only because I won’t get the chance to test him on the advanced level – ribbons!

Sadly, my carers assessment hasn’t delivered anything festive; in fact it hasn’t delivered anything at all. But bon voyage to all at the staff at the carers centre as they sail off for a well-earned Christmas break on the Algarve. Compared to the funds of the carers grant, Steven’s £10 DLA Christmas bonus may seem small change but it will pay for him to top up his tan for ten minutes at the Virgin Active. And like a shepherd, I will watch over my flock on Christmas night, as I do every other night, as the respite allocation manager has gone on a fact finding respite trip to Lapland to find out how the Laplanders allocate their respite. He’ll report back in April, apparently.

I’ll be rushed off my feet with all the preparations. I’ve risk assessed the living room for tinsel hazards; I’ve got a behaviour management plan on standby in case the new Coldplay DVD induces a meltdown. And if it should snow, we might access the community and go out on our balcony and lob a snowball at a jolly neighbour in the spirit of positive social interaction. Remember kids – inclusion is for life, not just at Christmas.

It’s going to be a great day though. The support workers have the day off, so it’ll just be me and Steven. We’ll eat what we want, watch as much Abba and Fawlty Towers as we want and sing our hearts out to the Gipsy Kings. Just for one day out of 365, we will experience a truly person centred day. Join me in an advocaat.


From → Social Care

  1. wally kennedy permalink

    Brilliant Mark …

  2. anonymous permalink

    I agree, fantastically brilliant….

    Despite all what we are going through, you have the ability to make us laugh….. However farcical the system is stay strong…

    Do not lose faith. Steven and you Have a Merry Christmas……

  3. Liz permalink

    All of this “stuff” makes perfect sense to the professionals, and not much to those of us just struggling to do the best we can. I used to wonder just who the “person” the plan was centred on was, given that my daughter’s wishes, like Steven’s I imagine, didn’t exactly fit on the form.

    Here’s to a peaceful Christmas day.(And maybe the CoP clearing the backlog before the shut down.)

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