My daughter asks me what I do at work as I drive her to nursery. I tell her that, although I am mainly office-based, I often visit people in their homes. She asks why. I tell her that sometimes people need some help at home. Again, why? To help them stay at home. Why? Because they’d be happier there or because the eligibility criteria have, again, been so tightened that barely anyone meets the criteria for residential care. I arrive at work but several people are on holiday, a couple are off sick and one is on training. I feel my heart sink as I crack on with writing up my assessments knowing it will be a very busy week.
I visit an elderly man with Parkinson’s disease who wishes to have direct payments. Although his speech is slow he is clear about how the scheme works and looks forward to having more control over his care package. In the afternoon, I join a psychiatrist in re-assessing an elderly woman whose behaviour has become odd. The home feels they can’t cope with her any longer and are demanding that we move her. The woman is, as usual, charming. Last week, however, she absconded from the home, having first padded herself up with toilet rolls to the extent that she looked like a Michelin man staggering down the road.
Audit inspectors arrive and start asking me about our Supporting People agenda. Hastily, I refer back the first bit of social work advice I was given: “baffle with bullshit.” It works and everyone seems happy. Back at work, we have recently been awarded three stars from CSCI. We receive a lovely e-mail from the director, thanking us all. There is muttering among the staff about a party. One local authority I worked for gave us all a mug when we obtained three stars. Memorably, it was inscribed with the phrase, “I’m no mug, I work for the council”.
I attend a two-day course on safeguarding adults. The first day is about communication and interviewing. Our trainer is loud and very funny. We talk about our roles and the group bonds well. After lunch, she tells us we’re doing role-plays, which she’ll be filming to play back to us. A deathly hush descends.
Day two and the legal bit of safeguarding adults. We’re all feeling tired and weary after a long week. I confess to a colleague that I’m really not in the mood for this. However, the trainer manages to make the day good fun. We all leave happy but weary at 4.30, thankful that it’s the end of the week.