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My name is Tom. I am a Housing Support Worker for SignHealth and have worked for the charity for almost 13 years now. As a Housing Support Worker, I would describe my role as being ‘empathic’ towards clients. I currently work with 6 tenants who live in a residential home and have various degree of mental health & learning difficulties, so it is important that these tenants have assistants to ensure they have the regular support they need. As part of my role I will attend handover meetings and will work with tenants to prepare them to receive their medications and I will assist them to attend various appointments they may have.

I work closely with my fantastic colleagues where we will discuss about tenant’s plan for the day which will include medications order, healthy meal plans, activities or appointment schedules. We do risk assessment of the tenants’ abilities so access if they can do activities independently or if a member of staff needs to give them guidelines and support. As a team we believe in the philosophy of Independent, Respect, Value, Support, Privacy and Choice.

A challenge we face is educating the tenants about looking after themselves through healthy meal plans and it is my reasonability to assist them to make healthy choices. There are many rewards to my job. Being a very small team in Claridge Road, it is really great to see our contributions are noticed and we receive positive compliments on our work by other professionals’ projects such as mental health hospitals and social services. It is rewarding to encourage tenants to be positive about themselves and to get involved in activities and programmes such as Deaf Clubs, college courses and volunteer work.

Deaf Awareness Week is great way to help break down communication barriers! We need to educate other professionals to book interpreters, and we also need funding for our staff to access interpreters and training so we can continue to deliver our services.

SignHealth to me is very valuable for the Deaf community for both staff team and tenants. We have a good reputation from other professional projects, and I would not be able to give my skills and knowledge to tenants if it was not for SignHealth.

This blog was written in support of Deaf Awareness Week 2019: Celebrating Role Models.

Why does SignHealth provide specialist social care services?

Some Deaf people need additional support in order to live safely or carry out ordinary tasks.  This support is much more effective when delivered by staff who know BSL and understand Deaf culture.   
At SignHealth, we are working towards a future without barriers to good health and wellbeing for all Deaf people.