Backchat: Diary of a manager of an intermediate care team

Diary of a team manager in an intermediate are team

I arrive at work at 7.45am and there is a panic from admin staff over bags of recycled waste not being removed from the kitchen, and a pile of unwashed cups left from the weekend. As the social work manager, I am asked to sort it out, which I do, reluctantly. I deal with a new safeguarding alert in one of our outreach beds where the service user is afraid to raise her concerns while she still is in residence. I decide to take a quiet approach until she is discharged this week. I meet a social worker who is working on too many cases and is feeling weighed down with life and work, and suggest she goes to our counselling service. I tell her not to pick up any new work. It’s hard to say “no” when people want a response, but boundaries are part of the job these days.

I chair a multidisciplinary meeting. Most people arrive on time but some stragglers arrive and disturb the meeting. There are 140 people using the service this week and keeping track of them is difficult. There are many referrals for people with mental health problems whose conditions worsen the more moves they experience. Many of the older people in our beds are depressed when they are admitted many don’t want to leave after a couple of weeks of good food and company. Once a person is medically fit they are encouraged to leave but often their social care needs are high. I battle with the nurse manager who feels all this “touchy feely stuff” is a waste of time.

I attend a managers’ meeting with lots of tension in the air and competition between various teams. All but the social work team is headed by health staff. Morale is low with health job cuts and more and more complex cases being referred to us. We discuss the issues of early discharges and the resulting numbers of re-admissions. Sometimes, we could do with bringing back convalescing care for people to give them time to recover. The new targets for the average length of stay on the service depress us all what was six weeks is now down to two.

A woman has to be admitted urgently to hospital, and will not leave her cat, a one-year-old called Moggy. The lady is seriously ill and may not recover. Lots of time spent with a social worker looking for a temporary home, which eventually we find. Does the cat have vaccinations? Is it neutered? Cat arrives in the office and staff all dewy eyed. At 4pm, Moggy leaves for a cat shelter.

Day off.

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