“My family’s lives were completely changed in April 2012. The injuries Mark sustained didn’t just affect him. On that day, we didn’t only lose a brother, son and uncle. My parents lost their careers whilst they cared for him, we experienced financial loss, physical health problems and all of us have been through counselling at some point.
While my brother was our world, to health and care services he felt like a number, a head count and part of many different tick boxes. After the assault, he was supported in a rehabilitation unit but he was in a room on his own and depressed, so we decided to bring him home with the support of a traditional care agency. It didn’t work for us. It was worrying as we never knew who was coming or when, and when staff did arrive, they didn’t know Mark which meant they could support with medication, they didn’t use the same routines for personal care and they couldn’t spot infections.
Mark before and after personalised care
Mark needed a future not just an existence. So, with the support of a wonderful team in Wigan (Clinical Commissioning Group, District nurse and GP) we got him a personal health budget, which means we can spend his funding as we see best, employing a team of eight Personal Assistants in Care to provide round the clock support.
His team aren’t all from a care background but they all see him as a person, not a number, and take into account what matters to him. Mark therefore trusts them all and they make him feel safe. With the personal budget we have been able to train his team in his specific needs such as how to administer his medication, muscle relaxing therapy and electronic communication.
Mark changed radically once this one to one care was in place. He went from existing to having a future. A guy who was told he would stay in bed all day and amount to nothing now has his own home, an annex attached to my parents’ house, a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle and is working to develop his own business. Before the pandemic he went to shows, concerts, museums, he was always out and very rarely in bed. COVID19 has meant he can’t do all of these things he loves and he is suffering a little mentally from not getting out and about so much. But he’s gone from being always being down and not wanting to communicate to laughing with his family again. He does whatever anyone else does, with his Personal Assistants by his side.
Having the support of Personal Assistants has been so freeing for us all. We all have our independence but can connect and have fun family time together. If anything, the last 6 months has really brought us, Mark and his team of Personal Assistants closer together. It really is a joint effort. They too have vulnerable family members, so they support Mark, we support them, and they support each other. We have all learned a lot. After all we have been through laughing and learning is priceless.”
Michelle hopes her family’s story will encourage caring people looking for a career move to consider becoming a Personal Assistant.
Working as a Personal Assistant you have a real opportunity to make change happen for many more people like Mark and his family.