I’m looking for investors. I need community Partners. I’m going for co-production in a big way. I want to build five developments totalling 100 living units for people with challenging behaviour and complex needs. Nice curved walls. Welcoming communal spaces. Probably positioned near to (or inside) the industrial estate.
I encountered two of my target group yesterday whilst I was accessing the community. There was the woman who stopped dead in her tracks as she got off the bus to read her Facebook messages, causing a pile up behind her. We had nowhere to escape, the driver shut the door and we were driven off to the next stop. Half an hour later, another woman did exactly the same thing as she got off the escalator in Tesco. She was plugged in, so she didn’t hear my plea of “mind out of the way please” leaving me no alternative than to drive my trolley straight into her.
These people have extremely complex needs. Unfortunately, due to their condition, they are unable to show empathy so it was my fault that I ran into the woman on the escalator. These people don’t feel empathy but my goodness, they don’t half feel outrage. (Note to self – must build sensory room in living units). The woman on the bus had absolutely no idea that the five people behind her missed their stop. She had something important to do and it had to be done NOW. This is extremely challenging behaviour that requires a good deal of multi disciplinary input.
But it is important that we encourage these people’s independence whilst acknowledging the risk they pose to the rest of society. Independent studio flats will enable the privacy to text away to their hearts content, whilst the communal spaces will encourage the learning that the world doesn’t revolve around them. (Note to self – must engage an on site positive behaviour support team).
It’s been a bad week for Transforming Care. St Andrews, which already has over 1000 beds is opening another 110 bed ward in January to gobble up another cohort of learning disabled people. Up in Northumberland, a 100 unit Unit is being built, specifically for people with autism and challenging behaviour. The publicity for the place stresses that it will be a place “for people currently in less appropriate settings”. It will be built across the road from a step down unit so presumably this is a step down unit before you go to the step down unit. Then yesterday, the Clan field Post announced the building of 100 one bedroom/studio living units spread over five sites in Hampshire for people with complex needs. A care home with 100 front doors. 63 units have already been planned on four sites, with presumably, the other 37 being built at the development in Winchester.
Complex needs are in the eye of the bebolder. One man’s challenging behaviour is another man’s completely authentic expression. I wouldn’t trust a single one of the groups usually tasked with diagnosing challenging behaviour. The property developers need the label to generate big bucks. The therapists need the label to trumpet their model. The charities need the label to justify their existence. The industry needs the label for the industry to grow. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the world woke up one day and the whole construct of challenging behaviour was about people who text in public spaces? The industry would remain the same but have a completely new target group.
One thing these places have in common is they never mention a home, a house. People with ” complex needs” have to be painted as such so as to scare off the locals and justify the development. Heaven forbid, a person with autism lived in a normal road with non autistic neighbours. The industry is built on such a fragile illusion, that to call somewhere a home, might cause the entire industry to crumble.
Excuse me but I need to get back to work. I was just taking a break whilst the cement was setting on the 80 bed unit I’m currently building for complex diabetics.