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Adam and Neil overcome their hospital anxiety

16th September 2022

This week we’re at Lethrede in Suffolk, to find out how a simple medical kit has transformed the healthcare of Neil and Adam.

Neil and Adam are autistic and moved in to Lethrede, our Suffolk supported living service, around 10 years ago. They are both terrified of medical professionals or going into hospital. Neil had never been to hospital and Adam had only been once. Both refused any attempts to see doctors when they visited Lethrede.

All that changed however, after support worker Joanna came up with the idea to use a doctor’s kit so she could gradually introduce role playing doctors with them as a first step of reassurance and explanation. Joanna, and support worker McDonald, then started to prepare Neil and Adam for any medical examinations, appointments or vaccinations by doing dummy runs and play rehearsals on dolls.

When a hospital visit was required, Joanna spoke with the hospital, and was able to go and film video tours at the hospital, so Adam and Neil could see the rooms they would be in and the noises of any equipment, to get them used to the hospital environment and prepare them as best she could.

Because of Joanne and McDonald’s support, Neil and Adam were both able to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and subsequently Adam was able to undergo a procedure on his throat under general anaesthetic and Neil has been able to have a blood test. And just a few weeks ago, with the support of McDonald, he was able to have an x-ray taken on an ankle injury – something that would have been unimaginable a few years ago!

Harry, deputy manager at Lethrede, said:

“Joanne is very proactive, she has lots of fantastic ideas to get people doing and trying new things. McDonald has been with us for a relatively short time, but he has made a big impact on the people we support and the team.”

Lethrede specialises in supporting autistic men and we are always on the look out for creative and caring support workers. If you want to join us at Lethrede to use your skills, or to develop specialist skills supporting autistic people to live independent lives, please take a look at our vacancies and get in touch.