Zest for Life - An Interview with Dominic*

iStock 860939704The enthusiasm with which Dominic* approaches life is clear to see from the moment he invites you into his home. 

Not remotely bothered to be disturbed during his lunch, which he has prepared himself, he tells us all about his recent journey and progress since leaving secure services. Dominic is now supported at Danshell’s Hope House, which provides residential support with nursing for people with a learning disability in their own apartments. He’s proud to show off his home, even if, as he says, he doesn’t spend that much time there.

“I’m out all the time,” says Dominic, “I volunteer, I go to the gym and go shopping. I have a day out every week and we call it the Big Day Out. I’m in the People’s Parliament (Danshell’s North East Regional Service User Forum). I do table tennis too and Keep Fit sessions. So I’m very busy.” 

Dominic volunteers working as a gardener and caring for animals. He enjoys it so much, he wishes he could work there every day. 

Dominic’s story at Hope House began in January 2015 when he moved in following a long time of being supported in hospital settings. At some points his needs were so great he was supported on a 4:1 basis. 

He said: “That’s all changed since coming to Hope House.” 

Service Manager Lorna Taggart said: “Dominic is far more independent since he came here, he does far more by himself. He has support for his basic daily living skills but he can now go shopping, he goes to the cinema, the gym and loves to take public transport such as the train. 

“Previously his enthusiasm and excitement could possibly be perceived as too over-enthusiastic and in some cases, anti-social, by the public and people who didn’t understand his needs. He hadn’t been able to manage going into town because his levels of elation could escalate very quickly. 

“However, his team of support staff have been working with his community nurses and others to help him communicate more effectively. He has been supported in appropriate social skills sessions that have helped him manage his elation better, which is fantastic. He goes home for visits and runs his own Person-Centred Care Reviews. 

“Dominic’s enthusiasm for new experiences is evident and he still has a real zest for life. However, he’s able to manage his emotions better now, which has really improved his quality of life and the breadth of activities he’s able to enjoy.”

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