Offering a Home from Home for adults with learning disability

Host Family Bronagh and her children Josh and Maia with Robert and Sarah.
Host Family Bronagh and her children Josh and Maia with Robert and Sarah.

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is asking local people if they would like to welcome a person with a learning disability into their home.

The Home from Home – Shared Cared Service is one of a number of services organised by the Trust’s Short Breaks Adult Placement Team, aimed at giving carers a break.

Angela Murnion, Short Breaks Adult Placement Manager for the Southern Trust said: “Most families who have an adult with a learning disability need an occasional break from caring. Adults with a learning disability also benefit from the chance to make new friends and enjoy new experiences which isn’t always easy when they have additional needs. Shared care is a family-based service that provides short breaks for those individuals with a mild to moderate learning disability through specially recruited carers known as host families. Host families offer care in their own home and this can be anything from a few hours a week to overnight breaks.

“Individuals with a learning disability may take part in family activities like cooking, walking, shopping or going on outings. Every placement is different and is arranged to suit the preferences of the family and their guest.”

Host families are rewarded with a sense of satisfaction from helping others and the enjoyment of welcoming a new friend into their homes and lives as one host carer Bronagh said: “My husband and I became involved with shared care a number of years ago with overnight breaks however when the children came along we changed to tea time visits. We currently care for Robert and Sarah who arrive with us after their day care. They enjoy playing with the children or helping out with normal family activities like gardening or cooking. We then enjoy dinner together - have a bit of family fun and then they go home before bed time.”

Emma who is the main carer for her sister Sarah adds: “Sarah really enjoys her visits to Bronagh. She has been going to Bronagh’s for about six years now and is really part of their family. While she’s away, I enjoy that time to myself to meet friends, go for a walk, maybe get my hair done or just relax – knowing that she is safe, happy and being well looked after.”

Angela Murnion, Short Breaks Adult Placement Manager for the Southern Trust.

Angela Murnion, Short Breaks Adult Placement Manager for the Southern Trust.

Host families can come from any ethnic, religious or cultural background. They can be single, couples, male or female, working or not working, with children or without. Extensive training and support is provided to all Host families on an ongoing basis.

If you are interested in becoming a host family - even if you have no experience of caring for someone with a learning disability but think you could spare some time, the Trust would love to hear from you.

Angela Murnion Tel: 028 3025 6790 or Sharon Humphries Tel: 028 3756 4533