Letters to Community Care, 23 October 2008

Better skills for end-of-life care

The Sue Ryder Care Palliative Initiatives in Neurological Care programme (Pinc) has found that some care home staff’s lack of confidence can be a barrier to documenting residents’ end-of-life care wishes (Social care and the End-of-Life Care strategy, 9 October, www.communitycare.co.uk/109606). The key factor is the need for staff to be effective as advocates

The Pinc programme has shown how a palliative care-focused learning and development programme and the implementation of advanced care planning tools gave care staff the confidence and skills to support residents’ choice in sometimes difficult situations. We will be publishing an evaluation of Pinc soon and look forward to sharing our experiences on our education programme and the implementation of neurological end-of-life care.

Judi Byrne, Pinc programme lead at Sue Ryder Care

No such thing as a white lie on your CV

I was rather concerned to see the advice given about “white lies” (“Is the odd white lie OK on my CV?, 25 September, )

A white lie does not exist in employment law it is a lie.

The employment relationship is based in law on trust and confidence, and I, on behalf of my social services employer at the time, have dismissed two senior social care managers on the basis that they had falsified their applications.

The fact that what they were falsifying – educational qualifications – didn’t have any relevance to their ability to do their job in social care is irrelevant, but the fact they lied is very relevant to the employment relationship, and amounts to gross misconduct.

Alison Sanger, social care HR consultant

Who’s belittling who on qualifications?

Paul Sear (letters, 9 October,www.communitycare.co.uk/109627) seems upset that his level of qualification should be queried and seems to belittle a nursing qualification.

Maybe he would prefer to be asked if he was registered or unregistered? At the risk of appearing elitist, if he is neither qualified nor registered, one wonders to whom he is accountable.

Pete Bowler, social worker (qualified and registered!), Cwmbran

Credit crunch threat to disabled people

We share Anne Williams’ concerns about the effect of the current economic climate on the availability of mainstream work opportunities for people with learning disabilities (“Peace broker in a turf war”.

As competition for jobs increases, those furthest from the labour market will undoubtedly be the first to lose out. Experience and skills will become ever more important and that is why it is essential that Valuing People Now is seen as an opportunity to strengthen and extend the support and training available for people with learning disabilities.

It is widely accepted that real-life settings are the best environment for people with learning disabilities to learn work-related skills. Supported employment, whereby both disabled employee and their employer receive support from a job coach, is a tried and tested way of introducing someone to the workplace while offering the employer a trained and experienced employee.

Supported employment also gives employers the opportunity to experience firsthand the added value of employing someone with learning disabilities. Employers are often surprised by the added value that someone with learning disabilities can bring carrying out core repetitive tasks to a high standard and boosting staff morale.

For these reasons, it is imperative that we remain committed to expanding the provision of supported employment regardless of the current downturn.

Similarly, worthwhile daytime activities should be available to everyone with a learning disabilities including those for whom paid work may never be a realistic aspiration.

Su Sayer OBE, chief executive, United Response

I’m being pressurised in to becoming a special guardian 

I currently look after a sibling group and have done for a number of years and have been pressurised to become a special guardian (“Councils deny pressuring carers to become guardians”.

I was approached by the authority to take in these children in an emergency situation and I have made many sacrifices to continue to look after them we have moved to a larger home, bought a people carrier and given up well-paid jobs in order to do this.

I was assessed and approved as a foster carer to look after these children. I felt that the foster care allowance, in some way, compensated me for our sacrifices as well as providing some financial assistance and stability in order to secure this placement as a long-term one.

There have also been other issues regarding contact and child protection, which still exist for this family and it remains the responsibility of the local authority to oversee and deal with them. The children have had seven social workers in as many years.

For all these reasons I have declined the invitation from my local authority to become a special guardian. This is becoming more and more difficult and at every child in care review the issue is again addressed and more and more pressure is being exerted.

Recently this pressure has become unbearable. I have felt bullied and oppressed. The supervisor tells me that they can “take it back to court and get a judge to make the order,” which I understand is not truthful.

So, yes it is happening, and yes, foster carers are being pressurised to apply for SGOs even if this isn’t in the best interests of the child or the placement.

Name and address supplied

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