Real life stories
My life, my health
“We are all in our late twenties, and up until now we’ve never had a smear test. We thought we didn’t need to” says Kirsty.
Kirsty, who lives with Emily and Paige, says “I wanted to tell other people about my experience of the smear test, so they don’t worry about it when they come to it.”
Our support to all three women includes providing information about the benefits of eating well and exercise, as well as encouragement to have regular health checks with the GP, dentist and optician. Over time we’ve slowly built up to talking with them about having smear tests and self-checking breasts for lumps.
Kirsty says “my staff talked about the smear test a lot in our house meetings and we watched lots of video clips together to see how it went. To make us feel more comfortable, we were supported to visit the nurse, ask questions and look at the instruments that the nurse would use so we knew what to do.”
“I was still nervous, so Pippa (Choice Support’s Involvement Manager) came to our house to talk to us all about smear tests using “Josephine”, a life-size anatomically correct woman made of cloth [in centre photo above from left to right, Emily, 'Josephine', Paige and Kirsty]. That was helpful, and then I said I will go for it and it was booked for me. I told my support manager that I need you to come in with me because I was that nervous at the time. Afterwards I treated myself by going shopping. Now that I’ve had it done, I’m happy with it all.”
She continues “Pippa and 'Josephine' also came back and showed us how to check our own breasts for lumps, to make sure they are fine.”
Choice Support takes supporting people with their health and well-being very seriously. Each year we conduct an annual health survey to monitor how well we are performing against national averages. We respond to the issues we identify, such as increasing the number of women we support to have smear tests and learn breast awareness.
Just as importantly, our health survey found that people we support want to pursue their own interests and have relationships with others. So our support helps people to make their own decisions about what they want to do and how they can keep themselves happy and healthy.
Kirsty says: “I’m an active person. I’ve always been like that. I work in a charity shop, but I’m getting a new job in a cafe soon, I wanted to try something else. My staff helped me find this job by supporting me to take my CV around local businesses. My housemates Paige and Emily also work.”
“On the weekend I get up and see what I feel like doing. Things I do regularly are horse riding and bingo. To stay healthy, I go for a walk, and now and then I go out on my bike, if it’s dry. I watch what I eat, but I choose what I want to eat.”
90% of people we support are attending the dentist within the recommended timeframe. From our 2018 health survey
80% of the people we support are having an eye test every two years. From our 2018 health survey