Jason and the jargonauts

I’m hunting out statements such as “supporting policy priorities to shift the balance of care to home-based solutions”. If this is the kind of thing that makes your heart dance like a Colorado beetle who’s just woken up in a sack of potatoes, then I’m on your case.

➔ Where better to start than with an inspection report on a care home. Social care inspectors are a strange breed for whom nothing ever happens “before” an inspection, it always happens “prior to” one. Medication is always “administered”, never “given out” religious needs are always “catered for” as are (happily) dietary ones; records are always “maintained” never “kept” managers always “state” things, never “say” them and, inevitably, “issues” are always “addressed”.

But one report in particular grabbed me by the lapels. Among the usual dregs of abbreviations (NMS 2, MAR and EMI – a record company surely?), it spoke of “tissue viability”, “skin integrity”, and “nutritional screening being routinely undertaken”. It also explained the need “to facilitate self-administration” while questioning the “capacity to exercise personal autonomy”. But happily there was “no policy of regression” in force.

The best line in the report ran: “They indicate the very clear support requirements and individual goals to enable staff to work therapeutically with each person in a consistent manner to maximise potential”. These are public documents for the sake of goodness. Heaven knows what the older people who actually live in the home made of it all.

But to top it off, the self-same inspector then made it a “statutory” (that’s “legal”) requirement for the home to make service user plans “available in a language and format that the service-user can understand”. A case, perhaps, of do as we say, not as we do?

➔ In 1995, Ashgate published Michael Murphy’s Working Together in Child Protection. Times have clearly moved on since then, and an updated version was necessary. However, the original title clearly lacked the required authority and clarity. Murphy’s recent rewrite, now published by Russell House, is called: Developing Collaborative Relationships in Inter-agency Child Protection Work.

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