Social work diary: ‘I end the day glad to step away from my computer’

After a positive start to the week involving progress with clients and dealing with admin, this adults' social worker finds it ends on a sad note

Photo: muuraa/Fotolia

Monday

I am in early to write up a review from late last Friday afternoon before heading in to a social worker reflection forum. A lot of the discussion is around the impact of reduced care agency availability and the quality of care being variable, to say the least. It is constructive rather than descending into simply moaning, but there are no easy answers in sight.

Then it’s back to my desk to check my task list and voicemails before visiting the property of a man with dementia who is in a temporary residential placement, so that I can get a better picture of what a potential return home might look like before the best interests meeting tomorrow. The client’s son has power of attorney and is feeling overwhelmed. He seems both open to and appreciative of input from others.

After a quick, late lunch break I am at my desk for a busy afternoon of writing up assessments, fielding phone calls and trying to get both my diary and my thoughts organised for the week ahead.

Tuesday

I spend some time this morning preparing for supervision tomorrow with the student I’m supporting. I then meet a colleague from housing who is supporting me with a particularly challenging case involving a young man with complex needs who is due to move from a highly institutionalised setting to a community provider. It has been a long and intense process but finally I feel like a plan is coming together for him.

This afternoon is the best interests meeting for the gentleman whose house I visited yesterday. The client himself is a vocal participant and very clear in his wishes. His son is clearly concerned for his father and this is definitely a situation where the balance between being safe and being happy is difficult to gauge. We end the meeting without a definitive outcome, but I feel that considerable progress has been made and that even if we are not all in agreement, there is a shared understanding and commitment to the client and his wellbeing.

Wednesday

After supervision, I am in the office all day. I generally don’t like being deskbound but today it is a necessary evil in order to catch up on multiple admin tasks and tackle a couple of bigger pieces of work I haven’t had the time to focus on before and are now getting more urgent.

I end the day tired and glad to step away from my computer, but also feel much better for a reduced email inbox and at least some items crossed off the ever-expanding to-do list.

Thursday

I’m pleased to be back out and about as usual this morning with a long-awaited continuing healthcare meeting. For various reasons, it has been rearranged four times before today, which both I and the family have found frustrating and there is shared relief that it has come together at last and an outcome achieved for the client.

In the afternoon I visit an older gentleman who has recently moved into supported housing. He has very limited verbal communication which often leads to us miming and acting things out together. I’m no actress, but it stops me unintentionally putting words into his mouth which is easily done. It’s clear that he is happy and settled and I am pleased that the move seemed to come just at the right time to set him up for the months and years ahead.

Friday

After yesterday’s optimism, it feels like everything I touch today seems to go wrong with calls going unreturned, plans that were being developed not coming together, and plans in place beginning to fall apart.

This afternoon I visit another older gentleman where a move to more supported accommodation had been considered. However, unlike yesterday, it seems like the time to make the move has passed. I’ve noticed a change in him recently, particularly with his memory. Interestingly, he recalls not remembering me on a previous visit, but can’t grasp who I am or why I am here today. It makes for a strange and slightly sad end to the week and I try to reassure his daughter that we will continue to support them both as much as possible, however the coming months may unfold.

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