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Posted on Sep 25 2015
Maxine lives in Cardiff with support from ategi Supported Living staff. Read about Maxine’s experience with ategi…
This is a summary of a conversation between Maxine, Tim Southern – ategi CEO and Gill – Support Worker. April 2015
Tim – You said that some of your previous support wasn’t as good as you’d needed. What’s different about the support you get now from ategi?
Maxine – there is more fluidity – the package doesn’t keep breaking down all the time. With other providers I was always on the phone to my Social Workers in the morning to say that no one had turned up to get me up – “I need some help, they’ve not come”.
One time the Police had to come here because the woman couldn’t get in. She didn’t do what I told her – which was not to drop the latch; she dropped the latch and so I was stuck in bed. The police had to lean in through the window. I had to pass them my keys and then they had to get in. I don’t have any of that now it flows properly and change-over happens.
Tim – what is it that your ategi staff do that is good?
Maxine – They are a million miles from where I was prior – I think the old agency used to trigger my bipolar because it was so insecure, the package was never stable. This one is stable and you get the same people coming into work; although it’s a small group of people you don’t get a stranger waltzing in through your door.
With a lot of agencies, you haven’t seen them before, and they are expected to do some very intimate things for you, and so when you have a small team, it’s better, because they know you – they get to know what you like; like how you like your tea and coffee.
Tim – What sort of things do ategi staff help you with?
Maxine – they help me with everything – my disability has actually got worse; Social Services have agreed now that I can’t really go out on my own now. Before they used to try and say you can do this and it never worked. Now they agree with us (me and ategi) which is quite good.
I do appreciate how fortunate I am being with ategi as with other agencies that are too big you can’t get the continuity that you get with ategi, you can’t get the unique service.
I go out and about now I’ve got my car; without ategi I wouldn’t have had a car; I didn’t know how to get one, I didn’t even know I was eligible. Gail did that with the help of Jayne through Motability. Since I’ve had my car my life has been so much better as I used to be scared getting into taxis’ – the ramps are so high and steep; and buses – you go on these adapted buses and there’s no straps to tie you down, nothing in them. I was too scared. Now I’ve got my own car. I get in my car and get strapped down and away we go.
Tim – if you were going to tell someone else about ategi and the support you get what things would you say to them?
Maxine – Firstly I would say to them that they get top notch care, and they get continuity, and they get the fluidity of their package running as they want it. I’d tell them to choose a smaller agency like ategi because you haven’t got so many staff, not got hundreds of staff and not likely to see high turnover.
These agencies that provide 15 minutes and half an hour windows and then an hour – it’s just not on, it’s not on!
That’s the uniqueness of this service – they are not going to get better quality.
Tim – we think the way forward for ategi isn’t getting bigger and bigger and getting more and more support staff. We are quite convinced that small and special is the better way to be in our organisation than trying to be everything to everybody.
Maxine – I think it gets out of control when it’s big; with my previous providers it just never worked, it was just too big. They would get people to come into me and they would be strangers – they would say “what do I do for you?” so you’re literally telling them “you do this like this” and it’s tedious.
Gill – I worked for another organisation and they were a terrible company to work for from my point of view as well. It wasn’t the girls, it was the management. You would have your rota the day before, very organised, and didn’t get paid on time. I came here, I knew Maxine anyway, Maxine was ill then – stress, it was all through stress. She didn’t know who was coming in from one day to the next and, when the new person came you would have to tell them; Maxine would say I’ve got 52 carers; it’s too much stress on a person.
Since Maxine’s been with ategi, the difference to her health and quality of life has been massive. I’ve seen it – and my quality of life also; ategi is so different, it’s so much better, you’ve got your rotas the month before, we’ve got a boss looking after us and a good team of girls. It’s a totally different ball-game.
Maxine – I think it’s what you do in the house as well; my girls tend to work together, if someone wants to swap shift, or if someone needs to be somewhere someone else will step in and they will, swap shifts – they do that between themselves. No nasty bickering, when a company gets too big there’s a lot of back-biting, which isn’t very nice for the service user.
Gill – you know us, where- as before you could have one person one day, Maxine knows whose coming in, she has rota on her fridge, all work together.
Maxine – It made me really stressed, I couldn’t function properly, and I would say who the heck are you? It’s alright for you, but every time I get undressed it’s a stranger. It’s bad, it shouldn’t happen to anyone. What the heck can you do in 15 minutes!
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"If I was telling others about ategi I’d say you get top notch care and you get your package running as you want it"
"Very rewarding and fulfilling work. I have seen positive improvements with the ladies I support"
"We get far more back than we give through being Shared Lives Carers. The support is excellent, we can’t praise ategi enough"
"Every member of staff at the ategi Shared Lives Scheme have always got time for us if there is a problem or we need any assistance"
"I’ve been a Shared Lives Carer for nearly 18 years. ategi have supported me through some difficult times. They really understand what being a Shared Lives Carer is all about"
"My bipolar is stable because I know who will be supporting me. Without ategi my disabilities got worse"
"I really enjoyed my surprise trip to the theatre on my birthday when Carol took me to see Cats with my friend"
"I love my Shared Lives Carers, they cook me good food and help me fight my battles"