Ali Burnett, Service Manager, describes how being well prepared when taking John, who is supported by Aspens, to have his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, helped make the experience a positive one.

“I took John to have his first dose of the COVID vaccine at the Westgate vaccination centre in Chichester.

I could see that John was immediately overwhelmed by the environment when we walked in, he seemed to become slightly “stuck” whilst looking around taking it all in.

It’s difficult to prepare John for this type of thing too much in advance as he doesn’t have much concept of time. If you talk about something he expects it to happen there and then, not in a few hours, days or weeks.

However, John was great and he followed my instructions and stopped at every hand sanitising bottle he saw to use it because that’s what we do!

We were greeted by the member of staff who was dealing with consent.  She spoke to John and I introduced myself. She started to talk about the stages of consent that were required, but she looked a bit unsure, so I interrupted and produced all of the Aspens’ paperwork that we've been provided, including Consent, Mental Capacity Act and Best Practice procedures and guidance.  I also had correspondence from John’s family giving their view of why it is in the best interest for him to have the vaccination even though he may not have capacity to make the decision and understand Covid.

The member of staff could immediately see the thought and time we had put in and she simply said, “Wow you guys really have done your job properly”.  She then went to get an allocated “nurse” for John and he was treated with respect and given time and attention. 

John rewarded them all with a lovely smile, laid on the couch, lifted his sleeve and did the sign for ‘injection’ to his arm. Afterwards he even did the perfect sign for ‘biscuit’!

It was a great service and I really do think the forms, paperwork and process we used helped with all of this, otherwise we would have possibly have been met with uncertainty and perhaps a different response from the staff there.

So, all in all, a great success.  I felt well informed because of the training, paperwork and working in partnership with Johns family.” - Ali Burnett

A huge thanks to all the NHS staff working so hard across the country to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine. We are enormously grateful for your efforts in keeping us all safe.