Yesterday Mark Neary flagged up concern about shared overnight care in warehouse type facilities. Responses to his post can be read at the #LBBill facebook page.
To summarise, it sounds like a cheap gig is being created through the sharing of ‘night’ care by local authorities/providers. Groups of people who are supposed to have support workers can be put to bed sharpish of an evening, leaving one support worker and ‘assistive technology’ on the nightshift (9pm-7am). Assistive technology can be alarmed doors to alert the (dozy TV watching?) night shift herb that an inmate is on the move. (This reminds me a little bit of the experience of my mate’s son.) Strikes me a bit dodgy that this technology can be increasingly (without question) used to surveil, monitor and constrain the movements of learning disabled people to reduce costs/workloads, while any mention of surveillance equipment to protect people from abuse is shot down in a fury of privacy arguments. (Bit of an aside, but I’m still flummoxed as to why we’re still banging on about post-Winterbourne when so many other abuses have happened since and LB died..(he died?) Is it the power of video footage or just another containment exercise?)
Most of us have some say in when we decide to watch the tv, have some nosh, go out, hang out or go to bed. It’s, er, part of being human. Bedding people down by 9pm (and probably much earlier in practice – again, see mate’s story above) for cost and containment reasons is surely breaching their human rights? And goes hand in hand with the shutting down (or more accurately, never opening up) of any sniff of opportunity, aspiration and imagination.
With LB’s death, the sledgehammer of fear no longer hangs over us. We no longer have to worry about how he will lead a (most optimistic scenario) basic life in the context of poor support, budgets cuts and a system which doesn’t recognise the humanity of people like him. And that terrible, terrible fear of what will happen to him when we ain’t around anymore. The worst thing imaginable has happened. In a context that will never ever make any sense to us.
I’m left now, outside this circle of fear, wondering what the fuck is going on? Why are we discussing proposed changes post this/post the other when the beacon that is independent supported living seems to be morphing into a mechanism for managing people on the cheap? An update today on the Bubb report (sigh) talks about new buildings and a (sinister) skills academy. No doubt with hefty contracts for state of the art assistive technology. The potential for this technology to replace the human in the context of learning disability provision is enormous. And menacing. Social interaction (in a diverse range of forms) is central to being human. Removing that from an already socially impoverished group has terrible implications.
I can’t help seeing a future where people reside in the community with empty lives, increasingly monitored by technology. With cost as the central motivation for stripping away their humanity even further.
Anyone know when person centred dropped off the table?