Former serviceman Peter Butler enjoyed an active life until a life-changing illness turned his life upside down, leaving him unable to return to his home or his old job.
Although Peter had Type 2 Diabetes he was very active and loved swimming and playing golf. Peter was in the armed forces for over 20 years; he then worked for a local authority and later became an audit and security manager.
He was still working and looking forward to retirement when, out of the blue, he was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection, which resulted in his right leg being amputated just below the knee.
Peter’s life had changed dramatically almost overnight. After surgery and a full clinical recovery he was medically ready to be discharged from hospital. But this wasn’t possible. Peter couldn’t be discharged because he was unable to return to his home which was split-level inside and had steps leading up to it.
That’s where a free-of-charge service run by Bath-based housing association and house-builder Curo came in. Their hospital step-down service offers a home-from-home for patients who – like Peter – are ready to leave hospital, but can’t immediately return home and need to stay somewhere with a little more support.
Through the service, a care package was put together by the on-site care team at the RUH and a support plan was agreed with Curo’s Step-down Coordinator, Amanda Barrett.
Amanda helped Peter to get onto Homesearch, the local council’s housing register, and find suitable sheltered accommodation.
She arranged for extra aids and adaptations to be brought to the flat, and gave advice and support, contacting and liaising with occupational therapists, physiotherapists and the local hospital.
Out of hospital and staying at Curo’s step-down accommodation, Peter’s confidence grew knowing he was in a safe environment and had support whenever he needed it. Together with a positive attitude, this enabled Peter to start adjusting to his new situation and gradually improve his mobility. He is now starting to use a prosthetic leg – a huge milestone .
“While in step-down and visiting the prosthetic clinic I saw an article inviting disabled people to try sailing with the Chew Lake Association of Disabled Sailors. I visited and was made most welcome and five weeks later I was deemed to be proficient enough to sail their Trimaran single-handed.
“This was a significant achievement for me, made possible in part because my time in step-down accommodation gave me time to focus on this and other activities.
“Step-down really is an excellent facility for people in my position to gain independence with support where necessary.”
Peter is looking forward to the future in his new-level access flat at St John’s Court, a Curo Extra Care scheme in Bath. Eventually, as his use of the prosthetic leg increases, he hopes to get back to doing more of the activities he used to enjoy such as playing golf.