Debra's Story

Debra’s injury occurred in 2003 and at first family were told she would be in a persistent vegetative state. However after a lengthy period in intensive care and a residential rehabilitation unit she was able to move into supported accommodation.

At the time it was recognised was not the ideal place for her but it meant she was close to family and she could start to take part in community activities.


In 2001 she moved into her own dormer bungalow, which had undergone a number of alterations to make it an ideal long term home for her. She is now supported to live there by a team of 4 staff who work with her 24 hours per day. There are enough bedrooms that her three children (now in early adult hood) are able to sleep over whenever they want.



Debra drives her own powered wheelchair but within her level access home she is able to walk short distances with a 4 wheeled walker.

She still has some difficulty with dysarthria, fatigue and cognitive skills but her team support her to make choices and decisions.


She loves to be busy, has a great sense of humour and a real “joie de vivre”.

She goes out most days to variety of places including: hydrotherapy, lunch out with her family, supermarket shopping, Karaoke every Sunday and a social club every Monday.



She has just bought a play station for her home and is perfecting her karaoke skills with the Songstar game. This, along with playing darts and kitchen activities are all contributing to her improved physical skills.



Due to her cognitive difficulties she can worry about things and perseverate on them. This can be distressing for her and her staff team as she may accuse them of stealing specific items or constantly ask one question over and over. The team have been able to develop clear responses to these situations that reassure Debra and make it more manageable for the staff team.



Debra continues to work with her support staff team, physiotherapist, hydro-therapist, speech therapist ,dietician, staff at the social club, her case manager and of course her family. She continues to gain new skills and join in new activities both at home and in the community.