Perhaps the most exciting accomplishment of 2014 has been our success in getting more people out of institutional care and into their own independent homes enabled and supported by ubu. It’s been especially inspiring because we are challenging the way institutional organisations think about and treat people in terms of their disabilities.
This year, ubu has been leading the way in demonstrating how this can be achieved. Our new support at Lytham St Anne’s is an excellent example of what can be accomplished with our u-Step model. This applies in particular to people with more complex mental health behaviours and problems. These are individuals who have a set of needs that we can engage with and support. These are people who had become stuck within the institutional system.
The shocking revelations about Winterbourne showed just how complacent the insular view, which has been shown to be endemic in the NHS, re-enforces old ways of thinking about social care. Some of these institutions are, however, beginning to recognise that embracing respect for individual needs is the paramount priority.
Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer of the NHS and member of the Winterbourne Inquiry requested to meet with ubu and the people we serve. Ms Cummings wanted to see, first-hand, the u-Step model of support and how the people we serve achieve meaningful and sustainable outcomes.
It’s good to see that the work we are doing is being recognised. It’s breaking the chain of dependence on institutions. There’s a degree of acknowledgement from decision-makers, policy providers and Government that the current system cannot be patched up any more and that something different and dynamic needs to be moved forward to replace old and broken models. These bodies are at last recognising that better can be achieved and sustained. At ubu we have committed ourselves to advancing this even further by asserting that “near enough is not good enough”.
The move to the u-Step model helps to change the expectations of the individuals we serve and inspires them to achieve independence and citizenship. The u-Step model drives innovations from ubu as a leading-edge provider through its embodiment of its own vision and values.
Getting people with complex mental health behaviours out of hospital-style institutions is just a starting point. Going forward for us, as an organisation, it is to enable the people we serve to become confident that they will be treated not as they are now, but as they could be, to become who they should be.