Social work diary: ‘The client doesn’t want to see us, is suspicious and tells us, firmly, to go away’

Client visits, care assessments, safeguarding training and IT problems: a social worker writes about their week

Photo: peshkova/Adobe Stock


After exchanging pleasantries about our weekends I complete a Care Act assessment for someone I saw more than two weeks ago. Although I have my written notes to refer to, I may have forgotten some facts so I contact the residential home to clarify.

My afternoon is spent in a different nursing home with a man who has a significant cognitive impairment. Staff at the unit are friendly but I have to ask the carers to talk in the office.  I’m aware everyone can hear as they talk about a particular resident.

I note that the care plan is out of date and raise this with the nurse who informs me he is an agency worker. The client himself declines to talk.   I feel sad for him as I see old photographs dotted around his room, presumably bought in by family, before he fell ill.


After a morning writing up notes, I call on a man in supported housing. Having read his file beforehand it’s evident he has been very unwell in the past and he’s been on a hospital order so I’m intrigued to see how he is now.

The contrast is stark – he welcomes me with a handshake, engages well and talks honestly and openly about his years of mental illness. Staff support is warm and I leave the visit feeling uplifted by such a positive recovery experience.  I finish my notes in the evening even as I’m out on a job first thing tomorrow.


I’ve arranged to meet a care coordinator at the home of a client well known to services. I sit in my car, the rain lashing down, waiting for her. After 15 minutes she texts me to apologise for running late. I use the time to confirm a visit for later and answer emails.  When my colleague arrives we only manage a quick conversation with the client through a half-opened door. She doesn’t want to see us, is suspicious and tells us, firmly, to go away. It’s frustrating though not unexpected. However, it’s an hour I could have been doing something else.

Back in the office I dodge the bucket catching the rain from the leaking roof and complete a couple of complex assessments still hanging over from last week.  In the afternoon I see a client who wants to move into their own tenancy. We discuss options with their support worker and agree to complete an assessment and add their name to the housing register.

I catch up with the care coordinator from earlier today and discuss ideas about how we can attempt to engage with the client again.


This morning I’m writing up notes, and there’s a problem with the computers. I try to get hold of IT but it takes forever. I arrange more visits, submit another assessment for panel and arrange for a social worker student to shadow me next week.

My afternoon is spent in a hastily convened meeting about supporting clients in a home about to close down. We identify alternatives, discuss risks and agree a plan of action.

I receive a call from a woman I saw months ago. She’s lonely and anxious about her PIP form and feels she’s getting nowhere with it. I spend some time talking and offer to try to find someone to help her with it.


My morning is spent in safeguarding training. It’s interesting and I see some familiar faces but I am fretting about my long  list of outstanding assessments.

My afternoon is full with answering emails, writing notes, arranging meetings and booking home visits for the social work student to join me on. It’s still raining and I can hear the drops landing in the bucket.

More from Community Care

2 Responses to Social work diary: ‘The client doesn’t want to see us, is suspicious and tells us, firmly, to go away’

  1. Peter fox November 18, 2019 at 8:42 pm #

    I agree that social workers and their team leader, need to agree on the course of action needed,
    But both must work with the family involved, and not against the family,

  2. Capacitymatters November 27, 2019 at 8:35 pm #

    What does ‘working with the family’ mean, though? All too often in my experience it means ” make the individual do what we say”