University of Hull offered me a full refund for my course and, with a heavy heart, I accepted it. I am still glad that I went for it and maybe I needed to make that quick, impulsive decision I made while standing in a corridor of a Sandalwood (Swindon mental hospital) at the end of September. If I deferred starting the course and did a bit more research I’d probably realise that the course is not going to meet my expectations but I’d never be sure. I’d always think that possible, if I tried and made a little bit of effort I’d managed and the course would take me where I wanted to be.
Now I at least know that I really cannot do that and this is not about ‘my autism defining me’ like some people would say.
I still learned a little bit and of course I can read about dementia in my own time and occasionally blog about my own views. Even if I get things wrong occasionally, does that matter? We know so little about how people with dementia think (and we need to remember every person with dementia is different) that not much can be stated for sure.
During my meeting with uni tutors last week I was asked what inspired me to sign up for the course so I told them the story how I started a job in Fessey House and came across happy people with dementia and how that absolutely shocked me. I was just about to say how I realised that the fact building is divided into small units eliminated chaos and increased service users’ independence in comparison with other care homes, what as a result created a situation where staff can give service users individual attention. And then one of the tutors jumped to the conclusion that service users are happy because of application of good principles of care.
And I thought what are ‘good principles of care’?
In every elderly care home I worked staff was really trying, but they worked against chaos, around toilet hours and coffee hours and I often thought that it wasn’t even the matter of having more staff on shift because more staff would just add to the chaos as no one would know what everyone else is doing.
I presume there’s no research on this subject and there may be none for quite some time or possibly even forever because the providers of other care homes, those designed like a maze, would cover all the challenges up.
I’m a little bit sad that another of my endeavours didn’t turn out to be successful but then, is it because I’m autistic? I think things are more complicated than that.