Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Edward & the Day Care Centre - Nigel Prestatyn

As the brother of Edward who is too severely ill to be productive or constructive, particularly so in a mental health day care centre setting, I’ve often wondered if he might still benefit on some level from being in a more lively setting with other similar individuals - a setting beyond the dour confines his care home, and the same few familiar faces that frequent it.

Mental health centres of yesteryear throw up images of individuals lounging around in smoke-thick rooms doing little to simulate a productive, worthwhile existence. But this image is outdated. Today’s day care centres are places where individuals are expected to be productive and constructive; where they’re taught skills, provided with various types of training, helped to recover and ‘move on’, etc. And if they don’t meet this criteria? well they’re unlikely be allowed to attend.

From this transition from the old to new ways of running a mental health day care centre, individuals like Edward have been left out of the loop.

Clearly most day care centres do not have the necessary resources to accommodate the severely ill like Edward. But I’ve often wondered whether for one day of the week, at least special resources could be provided by day care centres which could accommodate such individuals. Where they could listen to music, have lunch, tea and coffee, watch films, have entertainment put on, etc. In fact be offered some semblance of broader interaction, connection, and quality of life. But then would this laying on of special resources, (to use council lingo), be cost effective? That’s  a question for the number crunchers.

Likely, for the time being at least, Edward’s daily life will be a little narrower in quality than I would like. I’m also acutely aware of the great care and attention he receives at his present home. Those who run it do a tremendous job with extremely limited resources. 

Perhaps Edward’s care home is a scaled-down version of a larger day care centre, with five members instead of fifty. Perhaps it does contain all of Edward needs. Perhaps I’m in no position to judge – And perhaps only Edward can know for sure what his needs are... and what they aren’t. But will he tell us...?


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