Hi everyone. How is your Friday going? Mine’s okay. Guess what? The meeting between me, my assigned staff, my mother-in-law and the behavior specialist finally happened today. Let me share.
The behavior specialist opened the meeting by saying we needed to discuss how I’m doing now and how things have gone since our agreements at the last meeting. To both, I could give relatively short answers: I’m doing crappy and the agreements led nowhere. Then, my mother-in-law helped me word my wishes for the meeting: to discuss my wish to get insight into my care plan, including allocated extra care hours (what I call “one-on-one” here), and to discuss my wish to start the process of finding a more suitable home. The behavior specialist is going to ask my support coordinator to get me insight into the care plan.
I did go into detail about why I want insight, namely the fact that I keep being told I ask for more than I get funding for. The behavior specialist told me she had heard that indeed the home provide more extra care than they get funding for. Whether this refers only to my one-on-one or to the thirteen hours a day total that there’s an extra staff member, I couldn’t get clear. I was quite worried in the former case, because I really can’t cope with less one-on-one than I get now.
My assigned staff confirmed that indeed sometimes – quite regularly in fact – my one-on-one that I’m supposed to get according to my day schedule is cut short due to for instance another client acting out. She explained that my staff is the first to come to their coworkers’ rescue. This is somewhat understandable, because the other extra care client at least on the surface appears to need her one-on-one more and it isn’t like staff should be beeping for other homes’ staff to come to their rescue when there’s one available right in my room. However, I do suffer significantly from this. Yesterday, due to this situation, I self-harmed twice.
The things I said could improve my care here, according to my staff, weren’t realistic. This is understandable, among other things due to the fact that I am usually supported by temp workers. We might be able to tweak my day schedule and the list of support agreements a little bit though.
Then we got to discuss what type of home I’m looking for being moved to in the long term. My assigned staff is pretty certain that I shouldn’t be placed in another intensive support home, but the behavior specialist didn’t seem so sure. She pointed out that some staff at my old care facility had struggled to support me. She also made it clear that there’s this rigid divide between support and care, where you either need behavioral support or you need a care-based approach. Something inbetween doesn’t seem to exist.
The behavior specialist asked me whether I’d mind having to live in a smaller space, like just one room, not a separate living room and bedroom. I told her I had that at my old care home and considered that room pretty spacious. I know most rooms at care-based homes here on institution grounds are smaller than what I had there, some actually with shared bathrooms. I don’t even mind that, although I’d need a staff to make sure it’s clean when I need to use it.
We also discussed my preference for staying with this care agency, but if this agency doesn’t have a suitable home, I don’t mind moving to another either. I said, and my husband confirmed this when I texted him about it, that it’d be ideal if a new home wouldn’t be too far from where he lives but that isn’t a top priority.
Overall, the meeting went quite well. At least, my assigned staff understood my point of view and the behavior specialist is willing to start the process of finding me a more suitable home. She also admitted she hadn’t realized when placing me here that it’d be as chaotic as it is here.
Thankfully, my assigned staff isn’t going to give up on me. I specifically asked about this, because several staff have been saying things along the lines of: “Why should we even try our best to make things better if you want to leave anyway?” I understand big changes aren’t going to happen if I’m leaving anyway, but then again they aren’t happening if I’m not leaving either. Tiny things that will make my life easier, can still be done though.