Sunday, October 9, 2011

Agencies that "enable" clients, I think that's the word.......

It's challenging enough to deal with clients and their behaviors.......some that go back generations.

But what if you work somewhere that enables some of this stuff?

This is one of my biggest struggles as a social worker in a for-profit environment.

They look at some of this stuff as "quality customer service".

(i.e. making home visits WAY later then business hours or on weekends, going someplace on behalf of the client because THEY don't feel like going, doing something anyways for a client even though the client is not on the same page............etc.).

I got in a little bit of a debate with my boss over this on Friday.

What had happened was that we took a person out of a nursing home earlier that week.

It takes a few weeks for food stamps to kick in. In the meantime, the family had been buying the person food, take out, having meals with extended family, etc.. I set them up an appointment with the church a couple of blocks away from their house to pick up some groceries from the pantry, told the family they just needed to take the client and show up.

Well, they didn't go.

And I guess our nurse or someone complained (not the client or the family!) that the person was out of food still.

So my boss called me out on this.

I explained that the family was taking care of them, and despite this, I was told "I needed to go anyways and get the food myself or put it on petty cash as it's OUR responsibility to see she is fed."

Is something wrong with this picture?

I get his concern (fear of a neglect allegation), but if a client doesn't follow up on a resource, that's on them. I document it and move on. If the issue happens again, I will address it.

This is one example of many that often comes up though in my work.

How would you handle this?

P.S. It could also be argued that perhaps the family did not WANT a hand-out or that it's cultural for them to not accept the help. My boss didn't see this though and asked the case manager to go instead of me ;).

1 comment:

  1. I agree that this is a common problem. I work in outpatient so it's easier for me to put things back on the client. E.g., "Well, he hasn't shown up for his last three appointments. It's not up to me to track him down and get him to come in." Yet I have colleagues who do just that. I think that we go into the helping profession to help people and a lot of us are not able to draw the line between helping and enabling. I'm not sure there is anything you can do about it, especially if people think they are being helpful.