Supporting Stephen to live well after a brutal attack
In 2014, Stephen’s life changed forever. An active young man in his early 30’s, he was brutally attacked in Thailand, with injuries so severe that they left him fighting for his life. After 7 weeks in a coma, Stephen began to wake up and the full extent of his injuries were revealed – his attacker had left him with a brain injury, paralysis to his left side, and robbed him of his ability to communicate verbally. He spent the next 9 months in a hospital brain rehabilitation unit, before doctors recommended him being moved to a residential home for older people in Taunton.
Stephen’s mum, Alison, was never happy with this arrangement, fearing that on top of everything that had already been taken away from him, Stephen would now also lose the opportunity to enjoy the company of people his own age, and would lose his fighting spirit to recover. Sure enough, Stephen’s behaviour became increasingly challenging within this setting, as he struggled to express himself and come to terms with not being able to lead the active and adrenalin-fuelled lifestyle that he loved.
It took two years of campaigning…
…but Alison finally managed to get consultants to agree that Stephen needed personalised care that suited not only the medical requirements of his acquired brain injury, but also suited his age and outlook on life. That is where the relationship with Somerset Care’s Realise team began.
From Day 1, Stephen’s team of Realise carers were dedicated to his rehabilitation and passionate about supporting him to regain some of the life skills and independence that he lost due to his accident. They have supported him to find alternative ways of communicating, working with him to learn sign language so that he can better express his thoughts and feelings, enabling him to be more in control of his daily life. Incredibly, Stephen has also learnt how to play chess and regularly outsmarts his carers when he challenges them to a game!
An adrenalin-junkie at heart
Realise wanted to ensure that Stephen was able to do the things he loves, and live the life he chooses. Before he was attacked, Stephen was a bit of a daredevil adventurer – he loved the buzz of visiting new places and trying new sports and activities. His carers were determined that having an acquired brain injury wouldn’t stop Stephen from living life to the full, and so over the years they have taken him zip-lining, canoeing, cycling and abseiling so that he can enjoy the rush that he misses.
Receiving truly personalised care and support has had another major benefit for Stephen – he is now able to live largely independently in his own flat, and is revelling in having his own space again. He is beginning to be able to enjoy the things that most 30-somethings take for granted – a degree of independence, the ability to express his wants, needs and ambitions in life, the company of people who support him and celebrate him for being the individual that he is.
Stephen’s mum, Alison, couldn’t be happier to see Stephen beginning to regain his independence, and live life to the full, with the support of his Realise team:
“The Realise team don’t ever stop thinking about what’s right for Steve. Each individual on his care team has been chosen just for him, and they are like family to him. His care is age-specific, but it’s actually person-specific as well. Things would be very different for Steve if it wasn’t for the Realise team. Thank you for everything.”