We would like to tell you about the great progress one young man has made in one of our services in the North East.
William* is 23 and has spent almost ten years being supported in services. When he was only 15 he was prescribed antipsychotics to help him manage the complex behaviours arising from his autism spectrum condition.
When William moved to Thornfield Grange, a care home supporting men with an autism diagnosis, his support team wanted to explore reducing his medication. After having been sectioned and cared for in a hospital from such a young age, the team felt it was important to see how William could be supported using person-centred techniques rather than medication.
As a Danshell service, Thornfield Grange is signed up to NHS England’s STOMP (stopping the over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both) pledge, and the team works actively to ensure people are supported to take the lowest amount of medication, reducing or stopping these entirely where possible.
Knowing William as well as they do, the team felt the antipsychotics he was taking were not having any positive effect on his behaviour. Following the STOMP principles and framework, they pledged to review William’s medication and reduce it over an initial six months.
The Thornfield Grange team worked together with the multi-disciplinary team and William’s community team, as well as his family and carers to slowly reduce his medication. They also worked with William to help him manage his behaviour and the minimal side effects he experienced, using person-centred positive behaviour support techniques. They have worked well together and are proud to say they have now been able to stop William’s antipsychotic medication altogether with no negative changes.
Through the person-centred techniques the team used, William has now learnt coping mechanisms to help him manage his own behaviour. He has also managed to lose some weight, which the medication had previously made harder to do. William himself has recognised this as a positive change in his life and now only rarely experiences behaviours that may be challenging.
Over the time William has been supported at Thornfield Grange, his support team have seen a positive change from a distressed, agitated young man who experienced a range of behaviours that challenged him greatly, to being a calm, settled person.
William is now preparing for a move to supported living in his own home, something that may not have been possible without the reduction in medication.
Motivated by William’s success, the team are continuing to review the medication prescribed to the people they support and will reduce or stop their use wherever possible.
* Name changed for confidentiality