Personal Budgets – What does it mean?

10 Feb

Ace Man

I’ve been hearing a lot about Personal Budgets, what does this mean?

 

Annabel

Oh, I am just trying to understand that myself as everything is changing.  But it’s about getting money for the care and support I need.

 

 

Malak

I’ve heard it’s supposed to give us more choice and control so we can have a better quality of life – but I only know one person with learning disabilities who has a Personal Budget.

 

 

KA Maracas

Yes, but how is that different from Direct Payments? Are you still getting the money that you need?

 

 

Annabel

Yes I am but I can decide how to use it. It’s about me being at the centre of my care. I can decide what care I want and who’s going to provide that support and care. It’s personal to each person as everyone is different.

 

 

Ace

But why is that better?

 

 

Malak

It’s better because when services are planned they ask the person that who needs them what they want. Also health care and social care professionals are going to work together better to help each person.

 

 

Annabel

I think we might be able to use our Personal Budgets to get more involved in community life, which would be great, because I know lots of people with learning disabilities don’t feel included in their communities.

 

 

Ace

But how are we going to find out about Personal Budgets so that we understand what it is and know what help and support is available? I’ve never seen any easy read information about Personal Budgets.

 

 

Kick Ass Maracas

Neither have I. We need information about Personal Budgets that has pictures and easy words. This would help us to get the right information without relying on our social worker or our support worker to get it for us. Videos would help us to understand too. Then we’d have more power!

 

 

Ace Man

Has it made a difference for you, Annabel?

 

 

Annabel

Yes, I can choose what support I get and also change it to something else when my health changes. I have more freedom to get around because my transport fits round me rather than the timetable of the provider. This make me feel much happier because I am more independent.

 

 

KA Maracas

We will just have to see how it works out for different people as it’s a lot of changes to services and people are a bit worried about how it’s going to work for them.

 

 

Malak

I think we will need good support to understand the changes and how they will affect us. We need Peer to Peer support and training from other people with learning disabilities to help us understand what our rights are, what Personal Budgets are, how we get them and what to do if things go wrong.

 

 

Annabel

Oh, Peer to Peer and easy read information, wouldn’t that be great. I can feel the power!

 

 

How was your Christmas?

20 Jan

KA Maracas

Did you have a nice Christmas?

 

 

Malak

No. I was on my own and I felt a bit lonely.

 

 

Kick Ass Maracas

Sorry to hear that. Do you not spend it with your family?

 

 

 

Malak

They all live far away and anyway I don’t really get on with them.

 

 

Annabel

It was hard for me too – it was my first Christmas without my mum and I miss her lots.

 

Ace

That’s sad for you. Everyone remembers loved ones they have lost at this time of year.

 

 

Kick Ass Maracas

Yes, and it is hard because everyone expects you to be happy. I found it difficult at Christmas-time because my usual support group has a break.

 

 

Malak

Wouldn’t it be great if there were places where you could get support and meet people who are also struggling?

 

 

Annabel

That’s a good idea. I’m lucky that I live in a community where neighbours check on each other. My neighbour bought small gifts for the people who were on their own.

 

 

Malak

It would have been nice if I’d had somewhere to go to share a Christmas meal.

 

 

KA Maracas

My family like to do things for other people at Christmas. We helped at a local soup kitchen for homeless people.

 

 

 

Ace Man

That’s great. People need to be more sharing and generous and think about other people at Christmas, not just their own families.

 

 

 

Kick Ass Maracas

We can get involved in things happening to help others who are struggling in our community. That can help us to be happy too.

 

 

Malak

Shall we find out what’s happening in the community and all get involved next Christmas?

 

 

 

KickAss, Ace Man and Annabel from the A-Team

 Yes, great idea!

2013 in review

6 Jan

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Co-production works!

17 Dec

KA Maracas

Hey Annabel, I’ve been thinking about Co-production a lot since we talked about it and it reminded me about my cousin Mary. She has learning disabilities and had a hard time a few years back. She had three kids and lived in a really rough area where there were problems with drugs and poverty. She didn’t get the support she needed and ended up losing her kids. She was devastated.

 

Annabel

 

That’s sad. So what happened?

 

 

 

KA Maracas

She got involved with an organisation called CHANGE who campaign for the rights of people with learning disabilities. They employed her as a co-worker on a project making an accessible book about pregnancy and birth. She was very happy to have a proper paid job especially doing work that was helping people with learning disabilities.

 

Annabel

 

That’s great.

 

 

 

Kick Ass Maracas

While she was working at CHANGE she was able to have enough money to get her own place and make positive changes in her life. She got pregnant again and when she left work she was able to keep her baby because she had made her life better and safer. She also knew that it was her right to get support to keep her child.

 

 

Annabel

That’s a really positive story about someone being involved in co-production and the difference it made to her life. We need to keep on pushing for change so people with learning disabilities can be employed in real jobs.

Co-production – what is it?

10 Dec

Kick Ass Maracas

I’m a bit fed up and angry with people not including us! Why are we never asked for our opinion?

 

 

Ace Man

Things need to change!

 

 

Annabel

I agree things can’t stay the same. But have you heard about co-production?

 

 

KA Maracas

No I haven’t – what is co-production?

 

 

Annabel

It means including people in a real way so they can be involved and have a say in things that affect them.

 

 

Malak

Oh, that sounds brilliant!

 

 

Annabel

It’s not just about helping make the decisions, it’s about being employed to make it happen. People with learning disabilities need to be employed in the services that affect their lives.

 

 

Kick Ass Maracas

That’s a great idea!

 

 

Ace

I’d like to be involved in that!

 

 

Malak

It would be hard work to change people’s attitudes but it would be worth it. If we were involved in this way, we could build our skills and get more confidence.

 

 

Ace Man

Services would become much better if we had a voice and involvement in creating them.

 

 

Annabel

That would help people change their attitudes. Then they might see what people with Disabilities CAN DO rather than just seeing what we CAN’T DO!

Should hidden cameras be put in care homes?

4 Nov
Malak

Malak

Have you heard that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are thinking of putting hidden cameras into care homes?

 

 

 

Annabel

Annabel

No I haven’t! Why would they do that?

 

 

 

 

Malak

There’s a lot of abuse and bullying goes on in care homes and the CQC want to stop it.

 

 

 

Annabel

Oh yes, I remember what was happening in that care home called Winterbourne View.

 

 

KA Maracas

KA Maracas

I’m not sure if cameras are a good idea.

 

 

 

 

Ace Man

Ace Man

But it would help get rid of the bullying and abuse and people would feel safer.

 

 

 

 

Kick Ass Maracas

Yes, but I wouldn’t want to be watched all the time in my own home. There would be no privacy!

 

 

 

 

Malak

I agree with you – I wouldn’t like that either!

 

 

 

 

Annabel

But how can people be kept safe from the bullies and abusers?

 

 

 

Ace Man

The CQC are also thinking of using ‘Mystery Shoppers’. This is where people go into the care home and pretend they are looking for care for a loved one.

They could get people to pretend to be a cleaner or a handyman too!

 

 

 

Annabel

That might work better because the care workers would be on their best behaviour if someone was looking to move someone there.

 

 

 

Ace

Why don’t they give everyone in the care home a secret emergency phone to use to get help.

 

 

 

Malak

This wouldn’t work because carers can take away things easily. And it’s hard to keep things secret or private when you depend on other people for help.

 

 

 

 

Annabel

Why don’t people who are being bullied just tell someone?

 

 

 

Malak

They might be frightened that the bullies will do worse things to them. They may be frightened to get into trouble and feel it is their fault somehow. They might not have anyone to tell. Also people who have told about bullying and abuse sometimes haven’t been believed.

 

 

 

Annabel

That’s horrible! It’s awful that people can’t feel safe and cared for in their own home.

 

 

 

KA Maracas

Anything they do such as cameras or mystery shoppers needs to be balanced against peoples’ right to privacy.

 

 

 

Malak

Yes that’s important. I think the people who live in care homes need to be asked what they think about it before anything gets decided.

 

 

 

Kick Ass Maracas

The staff need to be trained by people with learning disabilities!

 

 

 

 

A Judge says that a man with Learning Disabilities is to be sterilised

3 Sep

Malak has heard that a man with learning disabilities is going to be sterilisedMalak

Did you hear about the story in the news where a judge said that a man with learning disabilities is to be sterilised.

 

 

 

 

Annabel has also heard the news about the man being sterilisedAnnabel

Yes, I heard that.  He is a 36 year old man with learning disabilities who is from the Midlands.  He is in a long term relationship with a woman who also has learning disabilities. They love each other very much and had a son together in 2010.

 

 

 

KA says the man did not want to have any more children because it is too hard for him and his girlfriend to look after themKickAss Maracas

The man said that he did not want any more children as he would find it too stressful and that having a child has already been hard for him, and his girlfriend and their families to cope with.

 

 

 

 

The man is able to give consent to have sex but isn’t able to make decisions around using contraception.  This meant that the case had to go to a high court to make sure a fair decision could be made about whether the man should be sterilised or not as he was unable to make the decision himself.

 

 

Ace thinks cases like this should be looked at very carefully by the authorities so that decisions are made in the best interests of men like thisAce Man

It’s really important that cases like this are looked at very carefully so that decisions can be made in the best interests of the person it affects-in this case the  man.

 

 

 

 

Annabel points out that the situation affected the man's girlfriend and their families as well

It didn’t just affect the man; it affected his girlfriend and their families!

 

 

 

Ace explains that before the sterilisation, the two families had to keep the man and woman apart so they didnt get pregnant again. This was stressful all round.

Their families got involved and tried to keep the couple apart.  This was to make sure that they weren’t left alone together as they were really worried that the girlfriend might fall pregnant again.  This was a difficult thing to do and was very upsetting for the couple to be separated.

 

 

 

This really screwed up the couple's sexlife

It really affected the man’s independence as it meant that he wasn’t able to see his girlfriend alone and took away the couples right to have a loving relationship.

 

 

 

Now the couple can see each other without worrying about having another baby that they found too hard to look after

I agree and I think that in this case it was good that judge decided that the man should be sterilised as it meant that the couple could now have a happy, loving relationship without the worry of the girlfriend falling pregnant again.

 

 

 

Annabel thinks this is better than sterilising someone without their consent

It’s good the case went to court as we don’t want to go back to the days where people don’t get to decide themselves and are sterilised without their consent!

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