A Worcester care home resident has proved that with the right support it is possible to lead an active and fulfilling life. Steven Ditchfield (42), who is profoundly deaf and on the autistic spectrum, moved to Craegmoor’s Hamilton House in Malvern Road at the start of 2013 and according to his parents hasn’t looked back since.
Staff at Hamilton House have recently completed a basic sign language course to enhance communication with Steven and have supported him to pursue his interest and hobbies. A talented artist and photographer, his works decorate Hamilton House and Steven also attends a local club for deaf people and regularly swims.
Steven also enjoys making lights and lamps and creates some beautifully artistic pieces, all of which are checked by one of the company’s electricians to ensure safety compliance. Recently Steven and his key worker Kelly Cole-Parsons travelled to London to enable him to fulfil an ambition and visit Buckingham Palace.
Tony Ditchfield said: “Before Steven moved to Hamilton House he had spent several years being very unhappy at his previous home, being described by his personal carer as the most challenging service user in the home.
“We are sure this stemmed from Steven being unable to communicate with the majority of carers, who were lacking in training, both in understanding autism and sign language.
“The transformation when Steven moved to Hamilton House was obvious, and he quickly became his old cheery self, due to receiving proper professional care and ‘one to one’ dedicated attention, coupled with the correct skills in autistic management and sign language.
“The dedication and patience of the staff at Hamilton house has enabled our son to enjoy his life to the full. He enjoys taking part in activities such as Deaf Club, swimming, art class, gardening, long walks, choosing his own weekly menu and helping prepare the food and last, but not least, using electrical tools to make wooden objects.
“It was good to hear from the staff that they are finding Steven a joy to work with and, as parents, it has given us peace of mind seeing our son so content and happy.”
Kevin Latimer, deputy manager at Hamilton House, said: “Steven is a wonderful addition to our family at Hamilton House and his artistic talent and enthusiasm for life is a real inspiration to us all.”