The Nicklins – A Self Directed Success Story!

Ivy Nicklin and her son Stuart have used a personal budget to choose and organise their own personal assistants whilst using HomeCareDirect to employ them on their behalf, leaving Ivy and Stuart all the choice and control but without any employer responsibilities.

Stuart is a 26 year old man who lives with his parents and his older brother in Shropshire. Stuart has severe learning disabilities as well as autism, which can lead to bouts of challenging behaviour and pica – an eating disorder. Stuart is in receipt of a personal budget.

His mother, Ivy, uses Stuart’s personal budget to organise his care. In the past Stuart’s support has included a two to one staff ratio. Ivy has also been expected to care for him, which has left her unable to work and she has had to rely on the benefits system for income.

Ivy relays the importance of her son’s safety and general well-being, whilst maintaining his independence. “What matters most is how happy Stuart is, and a lot of this is to do with the consistency and quality of the support around him” she adds.

Stuart left school 7 years ago and, like many people with learning disabilities, the gap between the support in specialist education and the transfer to social services is a big one, which lacks in continuity between the services.

Ivy continues, “We never had much success with traditional care agency staff especially in this rural location, and the turnover of staff was very high”. The family found it difficult to find staff who could offer care and support whilst providing continuity and comfort to Stuart.

Like most families who have a relative that needs care, their main concern is having personal assistants who are reliable and improve the life of the person receiving the support. Many personal assistants may only receive a basic wage. They may come and go and probably earn their main income elsewhere. To the Nicklins, this meant that many personal assistants would not stay for any length of time and the process of building trusting relationships would start over and over again.

The introduction of a personal budget turned the Nicklins family life around. Anyone who has been assessed as having an eligible care need, and therefore needs care services, has the right to request a personal budget instead of having those services provided by their local council. This allows people to choose and manage their own personal assistants.

The Nicklins then use HomeCareDirect to employ the chosen personal assistants, leaving them free to focus on the important things – making Stuart’s support a long term success.

“HomeCareDirect helped us choose which personal assistants we wanted and then helped us organise Stuart’s support on a day to day basis” said Ivy, “as the employer, HomeCareDirect took away all the tedious paperwork and responsibilities” she added. “We felt it was recognised that families are the experts in their own situation and when families have hit a wall trying to find personal assistants, this can provide a refreshing alternative solution”.

With HomeCareDirect services personal assistants, could be a friend, neighbour or family member, or it could be someone found through interview.

Stuart’s personal budget enabled Ivy and Matthew (Stuart’s older brother), to be employed as his personal assistants. The Nicklin family knows Stuart’s needs and idiosyncrasies and can be completely relied upon to provide the support that Stuart needs. Usually, personal budgets cannot be used to employ family members who live in the same house ‘unless it is necessary’. Due to the complexities of this support package, the rural location and with HomeCareDirects help, it was deemed necessary and appropriate – producing great results for all involved.

As Ivy Nicklin says, “It works for us!”