Clusters would care for autistic people and people with learning disabilities

Christ heals a demoniac; a demon is expelled into the air. Etching by J.D. de Montalegre and M.H. Rentz. Inset on left side of a stag, with the lettering "a primus annis comīseratione digna". On the right an image showing two people apparently creating a mixture in a bowl on a pedestal, with the lettering "ad fugandum Dæmonium". Psychiatry. Healers. Spiritual healing. Medicine in the Bible. Christianity. Apostles. Demoniac possession. Exorcism. Demonology. Restraint of patients. Deer. Antlers. Magic. Jesus Christ Miracles. Contributors: Johann Daniel de Montalegre (1689-1768); Michael Heinrich Rentz (1701-1758). Work ID: ychkpqar.

The recent report by the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee includes a lengthy reference to the “Trieste Model” of Care.  Those who care must read it.

This seems to me like conclusive evidence of the need for local clusters of community care. To quote from the report:

It is “a model that is legislated for and adequately resourced can work effectively to support people with complex needs to live in the community. In particular, this includes funding for community support; and reducing the frequency of admissions to, and lengthy stays in, inpatient facilities, which provides a template that may also be appropriate for certain types of mental health patients as we will examine in our forthcoming report on children and young people’s mental health. Reflecting on his international experience and research, Ian Birrell described the benefits of the Trieste model and the difference it could make if it was implemented in England. Mr Birrell explained:

I have to say that my mind was blown when I went to Trieste. I was very struck by the words of one psychiatrist I spoke to before going, who was not a massive ideological fan of the Trieste system. He said that if he was ever mentally ill he would want to be treated in Trieste, and when I went there I saw why. It is for the very simple reason that it is a system based on the rights of the people who need the help. It is a system based on respect. It doesn’t have restraint. The psychiatrist in charge said that in 41 years he had never once used restraint. How can we have a system in Trieste that does not use restraint and a system in Britain that relies on incarceration and restraint?”

My wife and I have spent  55 years trying to care for our profoundly handicapped son.  Living together in a cluster of care would have been so wonderful. Instead, we have spent 35 years separated from each other – with weekly visits to his so-called “care home” and his visits, when we were more able, to his real home, and constantly battling with social services and carers on his behalf.

House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, The treatment of autistic people and people with learning disabilities.

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.

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