Stories and information about managing and living in a supported residential service
This video was made with Viewmont Terrace, Cottisfield, Brooklyn House, Merriwa Grove, Delaney Manor, Greenhaven, Alma House and SVVI-SRS Supporting Connections.
Common conditions and illnesses
Tony Hoare, Mental Health First Aid Trainer, Action Education Consultants: Peoplethat live in SRSs are there, very often, because it is the most convenient or appropriate place for a person to live. Some people that live in SRSs have got extended family and have close contact with family. Some people are quite isolated. In terms of staff working with the residents - many of whom have high rates of mental illness, acquired brain injuries, age-related illnesses every single person in an SRS brings a different history, a different background, a different personality, different interests to the situation. To work well with people who live in an SRS, it is about getting to know them as individuals and tailoring the relationship you have to those individuals.
Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is an illness. It’s an illness where a person loses touch with reality when they are unwell.
A lot of people with schizophrenia are well most of the time so you wouldn't notice any difference, but when is a person is unwell, that losing touch with reality can involve delusions - that is, false beliefs, that they may be persecuted or watched, or a whole range of possibilities. It involves hallucinations, particularly auditory hallucinations, so hearing voice, but seeing things or smelling things that aren’t there, but to the person those things are absolutely real. It affects a person's thinking as well, so they're not able to process information as well, they're not able to remember things as well, they're not able to complete tasks as well. So it really gets in the way of every day functioning - simple things can become very complex or even impossible to do.
Acquired brain injury Just as everybody in an SRS is an individual, a person with an acquired brain injury brings a history that was there before the acquired brain injury, they bring the degree and extent and individual response of that injury and then there are ways that they interact with the world that they have developed since they've had the injury. It's common but not always that we see difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering, sometimes inappropriate responses, sometimes people lose inhibitions and so say things inappropriately or perhaps behave in an inappropriate manner, and sometimes they are not able to control those things.
Depression Depression is a sneaky illness. It sneaks up on people. So one of the concerns within an SRS, where people, because of isolation or other illnesses, age-related illnesses, other mental illnesses - depression can sneak up under people. It gets under our guard, so we should be on the lookout for it. And what it does is, it affects every aspect of a person's functioning. It affects their thinking, slows their thinking down, changes their thinking so that they start to think they're the reason that things are not going well around them. It affects the person's emotion. We know about sadness, but it’s more than that it’s things like hopelessness. They see no point in going on. It affects their behaviour - that slows it down. They have more trouble leaving their room, socialising with other people.
Age-related illnesses Age-related illnesses are as many and varied as you can make a list of, but we know some things are more common with age. The starting point for dealing with an elderly person who has a physical illness or mental illness or some decline is to remember that this person has a 70-year or 80-year history, in the first instance. And so they are an individual. They are different to everybody else with this same illness. Knowing a bit about the person and their past and who they were and who they are makes interactions better. If you know Joe was a soldier in World War II and that’s an important element of his history, or that Betty was a dressmaker, and you engage knowing that history, then the illnesses - sometimes they are long term, sometimes they are short term, but it makes the interaction a little bit easier.