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How can Personalisation help improve lives?

13/09/2012

A lot is talked about Personalisation - but what does it really mean to peoples' lives and can it make a difference? For Mona from North Lincolnshire it has.

Mona* is 51, with a long term condition which causes spasms - that's stiff and painful muscles, giving her restricted mobility and increased tiredness. She also has severe back pain and asthma, which makes her feel low.

Before she started receiving a personal budget, Mona had a traditional home care service of three calls a day for assistance with personal care, medication and meals. She spent most of her days in bed and had lost a lot of weight due to a poor diet.

Mona was having to walk up four flights of stairs to her flat, which made her feel like a prisoner in her own home. When she did go out she had to be carried down the stairs and couldn't go out without someone helping with her wheelchair. She felt scared and anxious and had lost her confidence. She also felt tired of pretending to her family that she was fine.

Mona, who had been at the centre of her family's lives, now didn't have any energy to be there for her family and grandchildren. Not being able to have her grandchildren to stay over was proving heart breaking, especially when they asked her if they could - she just didn't feel that she could look after them on her own.

Mona felt inadequate all round and that she had lost herself, forgetting the things she used to like to do. Even worse, the services she was receiving were very task focused and didn't take into account her condition or abilities, which varied from day-to-day.

That all changed when Mona's support plan was reviewed and she was given a personal budget. Mona used this to employ two Personal Assistants (PAs) and has since said: "My life has completely changed - it's brilliant."

She uses her budget to assist her with personal care, housework, shopping, and meeting with her family. Now, she even has the time to pursue her own interests and religious beliefs within her community.

Mona says her personal budget has "transformed my life, when I look back to when I had care workers coming in, although I was grateful for the help I received, the difference between that and Personalisation has been life changing."

She also says that having PAs has:

"Totally changed my life, from having no quality of life to having a wonderful life and feeling like a human being. It has made things possible for me that I never thought would happen, I feel like a totally different person. The best thing that has happened is that I have rediscovered myself as an individual."

"I go shopping with my PAs for clothes and choose what I want when I want. My PA's are very flexible and the contingency planning has worked really well when I have had bad days and need more help. There has been a massive change to my life."

"I've used my budget to go out to the cinema and go to religious meetings, I've even been swimming and meditation, which has helped me to relax more, improving my health."

Mona is now able to have her grandchildren to stay and is supported by her PAs to visit the library, support groups and take part in her local community.

North Lincolnshire Homes have also re-housed Mona into ground floor accommodation, which has meant her physical and mental health has substantially improved.

All in all, Mona is reaping the benefits a personal budget can bring - if you're considering a personal budget, why not have a think about what it could do and whether or not it's right, for you?

*Mona is not this person's real name.

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