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Case Study: Sam’s Journey

Sam’s History

Sam had previously been in a medium secure setting for a few years for causing bodily harm to a member of staff, having had a long history of anger and violent behaviours towards peers and staff.

Sam was admitted to The Springs Unit at Cygnet Hospital Harrow, a forensic low secure service, which supports males with autism spectrum disorder and other co-morbid mental health needs with behaviours that challenge.

When Sam came to us

Historically Sam had a long history of anger and violent behaviours towards others and due to his sense of beliefs and autistic spectrum difficulties, and could be destabilised when faced with challenges or changes in his routine. Sam had a very concrete way of understanding everyday situations.

The team at Cygnet Hospital Harrow understood Sam’s transition would need to be set up gradually. He preferred to be on his own rather than in a big group, he would need to know in advance what was being planned for him and when changes are made to those plans. He was given the opportunity to express his views and an explanation given if those views are being challenged.

Sam’s Care

When Sam arrived he expressed a wide variety of interests including aircraft and airlines, attending concerts and events, watching documentaries, films, playing various instruments and swimming.

Working with the team at Cygnet Hospital Harrow, Sam benefitted from work activity during the week as this gave him confidence and heightened his self-esteem, by keeping him active and engaging him in one to one activities.

The Psychology team and Occupational Therapists (OT) worked well with him to ensure he had a person-centered positive behavior support plan and an individualised meaningful activity timetable. Although Sam had difficulty in engaging in groups he eventually gained enough confidence to attend OT activities particularly community meetings, café group, a smoothie group and a relaxation group.

Sam had a full medication review by the team doctors which resulted in some changes. Sam initially disagreed with this treatment but eventually understood that it would benefit his mental health. The changes in medication helped to change Sam’s aggressive tendencies and provided him with a much less agitated and more relaxed approach to his care.

Prior to arriving at Cygnet Hospital Harrow, Sam had acquired a diagnosis of mild learning disability. By engaging in assessments with the Psychology team, they were able to determine that Sam had been wrongly diagnosed and in fact did not have a learning disability at all.

Sam Today

With the input of the Multi-disciplinary team (MDT), Sam has progressed in his recovery journey at Cygnet Hospital Harrow which meant he was able to achieve unescorted leave into the community.

Due to Sam’s own determination and hard work with others, this eventually enabled Sam to step down to The Springs Wing at Cygnet Hospital Harrow – an open ASD rehabilitation service. Here Sam has continued on his road to recovery. The team are delighted with the positive progress Sam has made and would like to wish him all the best for the future.

*Name has been changed to protect his identity.

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