A new Health & Wellbeing Hub has opened at Prior’s Court, following a successful fundraising campaign which was supported by a number of individuals, local companies and charitable trusts and foundations. The Thatcham-based charity – which provides residential care and education for young people with severe autism – has transformed an existing building into a new bespoke facility which will positively impact the lifelong health and wellbeing of the young people in their care.

A designated medical treatment room has been designed to replicate external healthcare settings, helping young people to overcome anxieties and become more comfortable in these environments. This in turn means essential medical appointments are more likely to be successful.

Director of Care Sarah Butcher explains;

Accessing healthcare - such as an appointment at the hospital, doctors or dentist - can be a stressful experience for young people with autism. Visiting an unfamiliar environment outside of normal routine, crowded waiting rooms and previous negative experiences can all contribute to extreme anxiety. Even with significant planning and preparation, attending medical appointments still poses a significant challenge. As an example, up to 50% of dental appointments are not successful due to young people not being comfortable in the dentist chair, so the new treatment rooms will be a huge help in ensuring our young people can receive the best possible healthcare while at Prior’s Court – and for the rest of their lives.

 Additionally, a dedicated in-house medication store will help to manage the high volume of medication and treatments required to cater for complex health needs. The young people at Prior’s Court all have severe autism and learning difficulties – as well as an average of another four diagnosable conditions. This means that even with input from a team of therapeutic professionals, many still have a high requirement for medication, with an average of four different medications per student.

Two new therapy engagement rooms offer opportunities for observation by consultants, meaning that young people have improved access to on-site appointments.

Finally, a new shared workspace will enable the nursing and therapy teams to work closely together for an even more collaborative approach to all aspects of the young people they are supporting.

Head of Fundraising Karen White said;

We’re really grateful to everyone who supported our appeal. Thanks to their donations we can ensure the best possible treatments for our young people so that they can have healthier, happier and more independent futures.