Diary: ‘I make the calls before anyone can change their mind!’

The pressure is on for one adults' social care worker to find an alternative placement for a client with dementia

Photo: WavebreakMediaMicro/Fotolia

Monday

It’s one of those Monday mornings when I’m not sure what I’ll find waiting for me. A situation came to a head last week with an older man with dementia whose behaviours escalated significantly which was placing him and others at risk.

After a lot of back and forth with multiple agencies, the pressure was on to find an alternative placement. Although another provider comes back to say it feels able to support him, yet again money – or rather the lack of it – is about to grind everything to a halt. Then I am granted an 11th hour reprieve and am informed that the local authority will fund above the usual rate. I make the necessary calls before anyone can change their minds!

With a lighter heart and lower blood pressure, I pop in to see an older lady who has been in a nursing home for almost a year following a stroke. She has a complex history and following an enquiry from someone reporting to be her child, I am there to confirm whether her previous request for no contact with her family still stands. Her communication and speech was affected by the stroke, but having got to know her over recent months, I feel confident that she is making a clear and informed decision not to pursue a relationship. I reassure her that I will uphold her wishes as much as I can.

Tuesday

We have a reflection session this morning where we discuss stress and seek to identify our triggers and how we can develop strategies to respond. Then I dash off to another nursing home for a review in response to a report of an increase in a client’s needs, and also because there have been some concerns raised about the service in general.

I’m reassured that the woman I am visiting seems safe. I’m back in the office before the end of the day and a quick phone call to check the situation with the gentleman from yesterday identifies that he has arrived safely with the new provider. They are welcoming rather than wary when speaking to me about him; I cross my fingers that the positivity continues.

Wednesday

I spend a productive morning dealing with emails, phone calls and continuing to write up recent assessments. I cover situations including new care provision for a gentleman with a neurological condition, researching specialist services for a young man at risk of potentially sexually harmful behaviours, and another twist in a long direct payments related tale and more.

I also find time to prepare for a meeting next week with the person I supervise and start to get my brain into gear to plan for the student who is due to start on placement with me in a month’s time. In the afternoon I spend some time at the local university as part of a panel interviewing prospective candidates for the social work degree programme. I’m struck by one person in particular who seems to have the right combination of passion and pragmatism.

Thursday

I start the day with a joint review with a nurse colleague for an older woman with dementia and physical health needs. I enjoy working closely with others, not just to make things more streamlined for the client, carer or provider, but also to learn from the perspective of the other professional. The client is quite a character, and certainly not shy of speaking her mind!

I welcome an afternoon in the office and continue with the usual admin.

Friday

Another reassessment this morning for an older gentleman whose circumstances changed seemingly overnight about three years ago, when an acute illness saw him change from being completely independent and leading a very active lifestyle to suddenly being largely dependent on others.

Thankfully his situation has remained largely stable recently. After the usual phone calls, emails and case notes I ‘treat’ myself to a full lunch break and then review my work plan for the coming week – I try to do these every Friday as I find it helps to clear my mind a little.

I end the day by calling into see the man from earlier in the week in his new placement. It is his birthday and he seems quite taken by the fantastic cake that has been whipped up by the kitchen staff. I am thankful that on this occasion we were able to secure the service when it was needed, and feel that I have played my part in giving this client the best chance at achieving some stability after an uncertain few weeks.

I am sure a new challenge will land on my desk next week, but for now it is home time with a small but significant sense of achievement.

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