Letters to Community Care 30 September 2010

Recipe ideas were hard to digest
Anyone capable of practising as a social worker is surely also capable of deducing that if you combine pasta, tomatoes and tuna fish and heat it up you get something resembling pasta with tuna sauce (A Menu for Social Workers on the Go, 2 September, www.communitycare.co.uk/115193).
The problem is not that social workers don’t know how to cook healthy food. The problem, as attested weekly in your own Diary column, is that social workers are too busy, stressed out and miserable to eat as they know they should.You might have looked at how food gets used for comfort during a stressful day, and how non-food treats might instead be built in. And maybe more importantly at the function food often plays in team dynamics (contributions to the office biscuit tin, managers buying cakes for the team meeting).
And finally, what happened to staff lunch hours? When I first worked in a social work office, staff took their entitled lunch break, ate well and spent time talking with each other on both work and non-work matters, which played an important role in team building and mutual support, and worked better in the afternoon for having had that break. Now, it’s considered normal to eat at your computer or in your car, and anyone objecting to meetings being scheduled over lunchtime is in danger of being regarded as not taking their work seriously enough.
Sylvia Rose, Independent social worker

Scie restraint guide misses crucial point

While applauding the launch of Managing Risk, Minimising Restraint by Scie (Research, 16 September, www.communitycare.co.uk/115302) the five-step approach described misses a vital element. All five steps focus upon immediate carer-service user interactions, but unless the leaders of organisations and inspectors recognise, support and reward the sort of interactions described, ie focus on user outcomes rather than delivery processes, this useful advice will not be effective.
Roy Deveau, Researcher and consultant

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