Saturday, March 27, 2010

Termination with clients who are a liability to us as social workers

I know that for many social workers, they do not have this option. However, I think this is where things are headed with the client I mentioned before. We do have this option through our program/agency. I will make the appropriate referrals for her obviously (i.e. adult protective services, perhaps an intensive case manager), however, she is just becoming way too much of a risk to our agency.

I won't go into the nitty gritty details of what happened with her yesterday, however, we are planning to have a meeting with her in the upcoming week to inform her that if she does not consider going back on psychotropics, and if she does not make a committment to her services, we will no longer service her. End of story.

I feel like it's almost to the point where I've done everything I could do to help her, now she needs to start doing some things to help herself.

She does have the right to make bad decisions and I cannot force her to do what I would ultimately think is best for her.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lazy day Fridays

I have off Fridays from work. (I have an arrangement with my employer that I will work Mon-Thurs in exchange for Fridays off given all my work is in on time and I am reachable in case of an emergency on a Friday).

It's so refreshing after running around non-stop all week long to have this "extra" day of rest added to my weekends. It even seems more precious to me than a payraise LOL!

While I am one of those people who has to shower and dress basically as soon as I wake, I usually spend most of the morning lounging around in the living room, watching tv with my son and catching up on stuff like social work blogs and such that I don't have time to read during the week.

I get paid on Fridays as well so usually my biggest chore is finding the motivation to get out and head to the bank.

I have been doing well with my budgeting challenge this month so heading off to the stores even to just hit up bargains like I used to do in the past, is something that is even disappearing in my life on Fridays.

I have tried to add a yoga class in on Fridays as well.

So that's basically my Friday as of late, and even though it's a very lazy day with not much going on.............I am thankful for that.

Clients that are difficult to help

I know those of us who work in the field probably have one (or more!) of these on our caseload.

Right now, I have a person like this----she is a woman who was bipolar PRIOR to her head injury.

She has been unmedicated by choice for several years now which makes it difficult to help her.

She also has severe, severe short-term memory from her head injury and has a great deal of difficulty with organization. She is constantly losing everything from her important papers to her car. (Scary that she drives too, but that's another post!).

She most of the time prioritizes other stuff in her life over her services, and then everything ends up turning into a crisis for her (and she attempts to make everything a crisis for those of us who are attempting to help her!).

She goes around calling everyone she can think of to complain that no one is assisting her-----------but she is not sticking to her treatment plan either. She can't (or won't!) see her role she plays in this issue.

She continues to overspend. And then does not have money for basic needs. She schedules her medical appointments out of town, but has no way to get to them...........and then gets upset with her providers because they are not able to take her.

She is a disaster waiting to happen which is really sad for me to say.............but a lot of these situations are just that. Often as helping professionals our hands are tied with clients like this until something really bad happens. The warning signs are all there. We can offer some assistance. But unless a person WANTS to be helped, and is willing to FOLLOW their treatment plan, there's not much we can do. This is probably one of the most frustrating things about my job.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Denied for HELOC

My husband and I bought our first home on the South Shore of Long Island, in Western Suffolk County in early 2008. It was in move-in condition compared to many of the other homes we looked at in our price range. There are upgrades we want to do however (i.e. new kitchen, new living room, siding, move around the front door and windows, etc.).

We decided a couple weeks ago that we would apply for a home equity line of credit through our mortgage company, so we could do the work at our pace, and be able to pay off the credit at a quicker pace vs. taking out a home equity loan with a large lump sum of $$$$$ and a larger interest rate. We also wanted to go this route so we didn't have to touch our savings account ever.

Anyways, I got a phone call from the bank on Friday that we had been DENIED. The reason had nothing to do with our joint income, or credit. Both are excellent. We also have no debt besides our mortgage and my student loans.

The bank said however that it's this housing market-----we have no equity in our house and the overall value has decreased by about $110K.

That was VERY discouraging and depressing to hear.

But I can understand.

I decided to apply for a Home Depot credit card which is interest free if you pay it off within 6 months. I was approved for a very modest credit limit, but I guess everything happens for a reason. Approving HELOCs for many people in the past is one major reason the housing market is the way it is now.

I am hopeful and optimistic though, especially living where we live, that the housing market will turn around and the value of our home will increase. Especially if we are able to explore our options down the road and come up with a way to put in the major improvements.

Hot Yoga

I have been going to this class since early February and I absolutely love it.

I have good days, and days where I sit out half the class. Overall though, it is the most amazing experience.

I highly recommend taking hot yoga if you are NOT a gym person and need/want to get into shape. While there are certainly young, ballerina types in my classes, the MAJORITY of the people who attend do NOT fit this body description at all. A lot of people who come are trying to lose weight or get over an injury. You go at your own pace and the teachers never, ever make you feel forced to do any position. They do ask that you try, but if you can't do something that day, it's totally okay.

If you don't know what hot yoga is, it is yoga, the same 26 positions every class (so they are easy to learn), in a very hot room (around 100-110 degrees) with about 40-50% humidity. Each class lasts 90 minutes, and the first half are standing poses, the second half of class is all on the floor.

You sweat A LOT and detox which is probably the best part of the class IMO.

They suggest you don't eat for 2-3 hours before your class. You are strongly advised to never ever leave the room. The biggest goal when you start out (and in general) is to just stay in the room and get used to the heat.

You bring a yoga mat, a large towel, a small face towel and drink lots and lots of water (I bring a big bottle with me).

I go on average now 3-4 times a week. (They say you should go at least 3 times a week to make any noticeable difference).

I have seen changes in my body. I am less hungry and have lost a few pounds. I also really, really, really look forward to going and feel bad on the days that I cannot get to class for whatever reason.

It also is a pretty affordable class IMO. At my studio they have a special where you pay the $20.00 for the first class and then you have 10 days of "free" unlimited yoga. I then bought 10 classes which is around $160.00.

I think next time I am going to sign up for the monthly unlimited debit which is around $140.00 a month.

I wish many of my clients had access to hot yoga. I know for many of them the price is always going to make it impossible for them to attend. I totally would support "scholarships" though for people in this situation.


I have a supervisor at work. He's not a social worker though. He has his MPA.

And he is also constantly busy so I rarely go to him for anything.

The times I do I often don't get a lot of support, or answers to my questions.

I find I often end up going to my colleagues for questions, as well as to just vent which is often the main reason I feel like I need to go to my supervisor.

Come to think of it, I can't really remember the last time it was that I was actually supervised by a social worker. Probably in social work school? And I graduated from there back in 2004.

Actually-----I did work on an ACT team from around that time until the fall of 2005, and I was supervised by a social worker. I hated that job though, but loved my supervisor.

I know that supervision is lacking pretty much everywhere, even for people who are supervised by other social workers.

How do you manage this? I have also networked with other social workers online for advice and support when dealing with complicated or difficult cases.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Entitlement at work

I tend to come across two types of clients at work: the one's who pretty much grew up with nothing, so are grateful and humble for anything they can have access to which can help make their situation slightly better.....


The one's who actually have access to money or family who can provide assistance to them, but don't see this as being a "resource" and form of support.

It is usually the second type that is calling me ALL THE TIME at work, who never want to take "no" for an answer when I tell them I am not going to be able to help them get what they want.

I understand WHERE they are coming from, and as a parent, if this was my son in their situation, I would probably want my child to have access to whatever he could get.


I think in today's times, where resources are limited, and in some cases, non-existent, FAMILY is going to have to be part of the equation in being able to provide support.

If you are a social worker or case manager, how do you deal with clients who feel "entitled"?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

And another weekend has almost come to a close...........

But all in all it's been pretty productive.

I took my son Upstate for the day to see my parents on Friday.

Saturday was a nice day to relax and unwind.

My husband also finished installing our new french sliding garage door (if I get a chance I will upload pics) today. He is making it into a bonus room of sorts out there.

I also have done pretty well without spending money and using what we have on hand.

Last night I made spaghetti and homemade sauce. I also have enough leftover for a lunch or two this week.

Tonight's dinner is BBQ chicken breast cooked in the slow-cooker. It should be nice and tender. I am serving creamed spinach, mashed potatoes and biscuits on the side. I should also have enough leftover for at least one lunch as well this week.

It is also the season finale tonight of Big Love. I enjoy this show so much. There's just something that is so fascinating to me about polygamy and all that surrounds this topic. I wonder what it would be like to be a social worker in some of the areas affected by this?

Anyways, my son is in the process of pulling the closet doors off the wall of his playroom now, so I better go look after him. I am not sure how much time I will have to get on here this week so I hope everyone enjoys their days ahead and that the clients and crazy bosses aren't too draining and annoying :).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A bit about my job

So I realized I haven't written about my job yet on here. I know I did all the time on my old blog.

Anyways, I work with people who have traumatic brain injury for a living. They also have a lot of other issues, such as mental illness and lots of medical problems.

Work can be very draining, but also uplifting. I really enjoy what I do for the most part, although there are days where I swear I am going to quit and go work for Starbucks. I find though that once I vent for a bit to my colleagues, I am fine and actually excited to jump into my role. I have thought and thought about for years now what else I would like to do with my life (I have been in the social work field since 1998) and I honestly can't imagine doing anything else---or at least not anything that is not associated with helping people.

The hardest part of my job I think is dealing with my boss some days, as well as clients and their families who expect me to be a magician, and fix major problems that are often beyond repair, or that will take years to come to a band-aid solution at best. There are also always people out there who feel a strong sense of entitlement to be provided for, and given things, and freak out on me if I don't do what they say and help them get what they want. Even if they do not rightfully qualify for whatever it is they are seeking. I will advocate for you if you need something, but I am not going to lie for you, or enable you either.

I have a lot of people in need of housing right now, but there's little to no funding to pay for it. There are not usually landlords or management companies willing to rent to a disabled person, or a person who is not only disabled but who has a criminal record that's also quite current. Housing issues are the hot-topic at work for all of us I think.

One of my challenging cases right now is a woman who has severe cognitive impairments, but who is also bipolar. She has also chosen to not be on medications to treat her mental health diagnosis for going on two years now. She recently lost her mother, who was very well-off and is fighting with her sibling over the settlement of the estate. You can imagine the types of phone calls I get from her oh, say, 10 times a day. I turn my work cell off after hours for boundary reasons, and get calls from her from midnight on to greet me as well each and every work day :).

I also have another guy who is med-seeking. That's a fun one, especially because there are limited resources on Long Island for people on Medicaid only who need pain management, and he has already burned his bridges with the ones that do exist.

I also have a co-dependent mother and son. They drive me nuts and we actually may be terminating with them in the very near future, which I fully admit I am not sad about :)

I have lots more I can probably write about----and I will in another blog post. I do have to go play with my son now though.

Do you ever feel like your life is really boring?

What do you do to spice things up and make life more interesting?

I feel like it's hard for me, because I pretty much live a routine life and I have a child, so he needs to take first priority.

I have started yoga, but going more often is not always an option, because of my husband's schedule.

I also feel bad having my inlaws watch him anymore than they already are.

I have recently gotten Fridays off from work, so that's a start I guess. Yesterday my son and I drove Upstate to see my parents.

I just feel like my life is pretty boring and predictable (i.e. work Mon-Thurs, house stuff on weekends, repeat).


Stuck to my list!

I feel so proud of myself. Especially since I went to Target this morning where there are so many impulse buys just calling my name.

Mini rant

Why does the Target pharmacy open at 10 on Saturdays? I have been up since 5:30 with my son, and showered and dressed since around 7. I am ready to go but they don't open for another 40 minutes. I know this is quite minor, but when you are an early-bird like me, it's nice to have these little errands done and over with early as well. That is all......

March budgeting challenge

So I think I will be able to do pretty good with this over the weekend.

I just made my weekly shopping list and all I need to pick up is the following:

1.) Bread
2.) Tooth paste
3.) Formula
4.) My birth control script (generic)
5.) My son's vitamin script (generic)
6.) Milk
7.) Drink mix
8.) Dog food (I have a $2.00 off coupon for the brand on sale for $9.99 this week).

I know that I could certainly justify picking up some other items, but I really think we have enough on hand to last us through this next work week. I also could technically go without picking up the dog food or formula this weekend, however, I always get nervous that I may run low mid-week and not be able to run out for some reason to pick up these items. Crazy I know. I will let you know how I do and if I stray from my goal which means straying from my list...........

P.S. I have just done some more budget re-evaluating and have decided I am going to at least "try" to start bringing my own coffee and breakfast to work each week. I see stopping off for breakfast as a simple pleasure that is in the budget, however, it's still close to $100.00 a month (if not more) that I could use towards OTHER things I would prefer to do such as more yoga. So starting on Monday I am going to add this into the March challenge.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday is here!

And it is also March 1st!! Let the budgeting challenge begin!!

I also hope that we get better weather around here. It has been snowing off and on for weeks now. Our basement also flooded terribly on Friday after the most recent storm here, so we've been dealing with the clean-up related to that all weekend.

My husband is going to gut everything down there, as well as start waterproofing starting this week-----we are so terrified of getting black mold. The basement was never finished, but it is partially panelled, so we are afraid of what we may find behind those walls. Especially because he found some cracks that have been letting water seep in probably way before we bought this house.

I am so glad he is able to do everything himself for the most part. Should save us a good amount of money at least.

Ah, the joys of being a homeowner!!!