Social work diary: ‘By mid-afternoon I’m tired and can’t remember where I parked’

An adults' social worker looks back on a week featuring evictions, detentions, and a man with a mysterious past

Photo: dmitrimaruta/Fotolia

Monday

My plan to get in early and catch up after a busy duty day on Friday is thwarted by sleeping through my alarm clock. As usual, my first task is catching up with out-of-hours involvement from the weekend. Today this is related to a very complex young man who was detained by the police last night. Thankfully a call to his supported living provider reassures me that he is safely home and there is an immediate plan in place.

My first visit of the day is to a man in his 60s with dementia who has recently returned home following a hospital admission and several months in residential care. It is early days and I am realistic that difficulties are likely to arise, but optimistic that what seems to be a positive start will continue.

After a snatched sandwich in my car I visit an older lady in declining health where there are significant concerns regarding spiralling debt, bailiffs circling and impending eviction. Her daughter has intense mental health needs and despite her support worker’s best efforts, yet again I am subject to a volley of aggression and leave feeling increasingly anxious about finding a way through the turmoil.

Back to the office for a flurry of emails and phone calls before a joint visit to introduce a finance colleague to an older lady with dementia who has recently moved into a nursing home. To describe her as a character would be an understatement and I am reassured that the staff are embracing any eccentricities. I drive home with a smile on my face at her cheeky robustness in the face of adversity.

Tuesday

A more organised start to the day as I catch up on recording Monday’s visits and spend time reviewing work for one of the people I supervise. I enjoy supporting others and contributing to their development, but sometimes there are only so many directions in which one person can be pulled.

I head out to a review of care for a longstanding difficult situation. The previous provider gave notice because of the client’s husband’s escalating behaviour and a new agency has been in place for a few weeks. There have been some early ups and downs, but they seem willing to work with the situation and resolve issues as they arise.

In the afternoon I spend a couple of hours with the young man who was detained by the police at the weekend.  He seems as well as could be hoped for and has been having open conversations with support staff about his behaviours. The service manager and I talk through some ideas to develop his care plans and risk assessments further and a plan for a more formal review is made.

Wednesday

It’s a stop-start day of trying to tie up odds and ends and hanging around waiting for other people to get back to me. I make another attempt to see the lady from Monday, but yet again the visit has to be terminated due to her daughter’s behaviour and I am frustrated and deflated.

In the afternoon I receive news that a client I have had quite a lot of involvement with has passed away after a short and sudden illness. The gentleman had no family and the care agency manager went to the hospital to be with him so that he didn’t die alone. I am both touched by and thankful for this act of human kindness.

Thursday

A care review this morning for an older lady with dementia where a few tweaks to how support is provided will hopefully make a big difference. I just about have time for a cup of tea and scroll through my emails before I am out again, with an OT colleague this time, to a sad and potentially risky situation where refusal to consider equipment in the house has led to the private care agency withdrawing. The situation has been at stalemate but thankfully discussion isn’t too heated and a possible compromise identified.

By mid-afternoon I’m tired and can’t remember where I parked my car, but find it without too much searching to call in to see a gentleman in a nursing home. Much of his past life is a mystery and the plot has thickened with a call to our office from a solicitor regarding a possible trust. He is able to shed a little light on the situation but I suspect there is much more to be discovered. However, that will have to wait for another day.

Friday

I’m in early to whip through some emails and letters and then once the phone lines open I barely have time to pause for breath between calls. I visit an older lady who has been on the receiving end of poor care agency provision. A new provider is now in place and the situation seems much improved which is reassuring for her and her family.

I have everything crossed that it will be third time lucky visiting the client with impending eviction and her daughter. Today is much calmer and a potential plan is made. I can’t help but feel sceptical that it won’t come to fruition, but it’s a welcome relief to leave without my ears ringing with insults.

I call in to see an older man who has dementia where I want to make one last check before I end my involvement and I am reassured all is working as well as it can be for him.

I spend a couple of hours furiously typing away to get essential notes on the system before the weekend and decide the rest will have to be dealt with on Monday. I’m shattered. Netflix awaits…

One Response to Social work diary: ‘By mid-afternoon I’m tired and can’t remember where I parked’

  1. Anne August 7, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    Well, that’s a typical week in adult social care. I relate to this and it’s always fulfilling to put smiles on people’s faces at the end of the week!!