Shannon's story: How I became Belle of the ball

After suffering a devastating brain injury at a few months old, Shannon was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which affected her ability to develop her speech and mobility. Cared for by foster parents, she received the best care throughout her childhood and a good school was found where she would be able to continue to develop.

As Shannon reached her teenage years and approaching adulthood she was moved on into adult services. Sadly, her first experience was not good and she developed pressure sores that caused her to miss her last year at school.  

Shannon then moved to an Exemplar Health Care home, where the team were able to meet her complex needs and supply the person –centred care she had been missing.  Knowing how important her schooling was to her and her parents, the home worked closely with her teaching assistant to facilitate home schooling. Unfortunately, just when everything was going well, Shannon became ill with a serious chest infection and was unable to attend her final leavers prom.

With the help of her respiratory clinic and physiotherapist, the team provided Shannon with an intense schedule of care including chest physiotherapy, cough assist and positioning to help her breathing as well as successfully treating her pressure sores. One year later they were delighted when she was able to start getting out of bed again and spending time with others.

Exemplar Health Care’s desire to make every day better often inspires our homes to go to extraordinary measures to create special milestone moments for residents and this was no exception. Determined that Shannon would not miss this important milestone in her life, the care home team set about recreating the school prom that Shannon had missed. 

The home was turned into prom planning headquarters and the theme became 'Beauty and the Beast' as per Shannon’s favourite film. The home’s catering team developed an amazing menu for all dietary needs from puree meals to buffets whilst the life skills team began making the decorations and co-ordinating the day. 

The team wanted this to be a day for everyone and all the residents living in the home were encouraged to get involved and to dress up in their best suits and dresses. Shannon’s friends and family were invited along with her friends from school. The whole team dressed up in costumes and Shannon became the ‘Belle of the ball’ in a beautiful yellow gown.

 “It was an emotional day from start to finish and all the hard work was completely worth it when we got to join in with Shannon, her family and her school friends dancing and singing. There was not a dry eye in sight when Shannon’s school friends took her hand and they danced together as it should be for any young teenager. We ended the day with music and entertainment for all and were even joined by residents from other homes who really made the night something to remember. Life in an Exemplar Health Care home is not just about great care but also about helping people to reach their personal milestones and to enjoy the same opportunities as anyone else.”

Naomi Jones, Bridgewood Mews Home Manager

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