"Our aim is to enable all the people here to live the most independent lives possible."

Thanks to the carefully tailored support she’s getting from SeeAbility’s Exeter team, Julie’s health and wellbeing are the best they’ve ever been.

Focusing on health

Julie makes a cake with her support workerLike most people, Julie wants to get the most out of life. She’s a keen singer, dancer and baker, with her own supported living flat in Exeter. In the past, health complications arising from cerebral palsy and a visual impairment have made life more difficult, but when she went for an annual health check recently, her doctor said she’d never seen her looking so healthy.

Appointments haven’t always been so positive. Julie can see very little, so when people approached her without saying what they were doing, she could get quite agitated. Karen, Julie’s key worker said:

I realised the appointments weren’t happening in a way that suited her.

Once Karen had identified that the main issue was that Julie couldn’t see what was going on, she spoke with her about possible adjustments that people could make to ensure she understood everything. Following this discussion, Karen asked everyone – dentists, nurses, podiatrists - to give Julie a running commentary on what they were doing. She also recognised that Julie valued consistency, so they agreed that same support workers would always accompany her to appointments.

These small personal adjustments have made a huge impact on Julie’s wellbeing. Karen says:

It used to even be a struggle to get Julie’s hair cut. But if her fringe got too long, she’d get eye infections, and when her health wasn’t 100% she could get UTIs [urinary tract infections]

Better health, better life

Since these adjustments, Julie hasn’t had a UTI in over three years. This improvement in her health has in turn given Julie greater confidence in getting out and about more. She enjoys a busy and varied week, from hydrotherapy to karaoke - last year she even went on holiday to Cornwall. Getting out and about so much does put Julie at risk as picking up bugs, but that risk has dropped significantly since SeeAbility’s intervention. It means that Julie is able to get everything out of life that she wants to.

It feels good to know that we’ve all come together for Julie and it’s really paid off. When the doctor says how well she’s doing, you think, ‘Wow – we’re really making a difference.'