Many people with learning disabilities, mental health needs, autism, and Asperger’s syndrome need some level of support so that they can maximise their independence and live the most fulfilling life they can. There are some significant differences between residential care and supported living which we outline below and which may inform the choice as to the most appropriate care type.
There are care homes situated throughout the UK and they all need to be registered with the CQC (Care Quality Commission) and will undergo regular inspections to ensure they meet the standards required.
In a residential home, both accommodation and personal care are provided. Meals are included and twenty-four-hours support will be available from a specialist team who are trained to the required level. A residential home in Kent or elsewhere will have a staffing ratio set by the Care Quality Commission. Although people who live in residential care will have their own individual bedroom, many other facilities are shared between residents. There will be communal areas such as living room, dining rooms, and kitchen and residents will be able to join in organised activities if they so wish.
Unlike a residential home in Kent, supported living provides the people who live there with individual tenancies. This means that they have a home of their own and will benefit from a greater level of autonomy as far as their environment is concerned. The staff team will support them and will create the kind of living environment that best meets their needs as far as design, lighting, and ambiance are concerned. People in supported living are encouraged to maximise their independence and to engage in the activities internally and externally they enjoy. If they have particular wishes or needs, the staff will support them towards achieving their goals.
Supported living is a very much more flexible option than a residential home in Kent or nearby. It is suitable for people with a range of different needs including help with communicating, managing challenging behaviours and developing social friendships and budgeting everyday life. Since each tenant is an individual, the support will be tailored specifically to their needs, including positive behavioural support (PBS) where appropriate, in ensuring a calmer, more positive living environment. If a person’s needs are such that staff require additional training, this will be carried out so that their needs can be met.
Each individual’s care plan will be designed with the aim of making a positive difference to their daily life, and where ever possible, they and their family and friends will be aware of the goals they are working towards, as will any professionals involved in their care.
Having a tenancy of their own gives individuals the opportunity to gain independence but still benefit from the support of skilled knowledgeable staff whenever this is needed. It is particularly helpful for people with learning disabilities who may need a little extra help in some areas of their lives whilst maintaining a high level of independence in others.