Ok, so yesterday I did my first shift in a care environment since I got suspended in April last year. The shift was ok, although obviously I can’t say any more than that as it’s confidential. I’m on a sleep in now but can’t sleep as mattress is absolutely horrible (I don’t think that is confidential, why would it be?). It’s even worse that this one in Portland, I feel all the springs in it, seriously. I slept around 4h only and doubt I’m going to get any more than that.
I’m going to have a moan about social care here, that will be a sum up from my experience altogether. First of all, if I ever end up in a care home, please, for goodness sake, do not write my care plan in a first person! I do not understand who came up with that and decided that is a person centred approach? No, it’s not person centred and it actually makes people less likely to reflect on what is written. If you write in the third person it’s like if you are saying ‘this is written to the best of our knowledge’. If you write in the first person it’s like if you’re implying ‘that’s how it is, period!’. I don’t know how come people can’t see that. Plus, I’m sorry but writing in the first person, when the person in question didn’t tell you what to write is basically lying.
The other thing is that some people in the care system have better quality of life than their carers. Should they have it worse? Of course that is not what I’m saying, but… something just doesn’t seem right. And if you say it out loud to higher ups working in social services, you’re likely to hear that ‘you can choose a different job, they can’t choose different life’. So that basically means that I’m a loser for working in social care. That’s what they are saying.
The third thing is that everything in this business is meant to be about ‘choices’. But it’s not, it’s about how things look like. For some reasons clients with more serious disabilities always get more money but they don’t want to go out and spend it. So they end up with savings that need to be used up. The staff is then told to buy loads of crap for their bedroom, or perfectly functional furniture is being put to the skip and replaced with new one, just to spend money. While clients who are less disabled want to go to places a lot but they get less money so sometimes they can’t even afford a cup of coffee.
Or client is not allowed to eat with a spoon – the manager insists that he has to use knife and fork. What for? It’s his choice, isn’t it? And his hands are shaking due to medication he’s on so, I’m sorry, insisting that he eats with a knife and fork is an abuse, one that you can’t report anywhere.
My last care company had this ‘see something say something’ thing put in place, with a confidential email where you could write if you feel like you didn’t want to discuss something with the manager. One day I was in a situation where I was concerned about the manager so I emailed the say something thing. And guess what happened? At first nothing. I didn’t get any response and I kind of forgot about that. I was hoping that the company is on the case, although not getting any response felt a bit strange. And then, two or three weeks later I had my supervision with that manager. All was going normal, as usual, and then suddenly she started saying some things that didn’t make sense and finished it with ‘I won’t be tolerating people who talk about me behind my back.’ So that is what ‘confidential’ looks like, and probably not only in a care system.
As I said here already, I felt my ability to predict managers behaviour was much better in Poland where businesses don’t have that many procedures. I basically knew that the manager won’t do anything about a lot of things. In here I’m impressed that there’s procedure for everything, that so many things seem to be anticipated. And I used to naively think that this will get followed, but it wasn’t! And even now, when I know that procedures rarely get followed in challenging situations, I feel confused, because who knows, maybe this time it will be different?
I was also going to write about forcing autistic people into sensory experience… oh well. Yes, we may seek sensory experiences but it has to be on our terms. Please do not stick massive lava lamp into a tiny room! If we can’t easily move away from it, it doesn’t feel stimulating, it feels threatening. But of course no one is ever listening to me. Instead of making my autism into an opportunity to learn from me it’s much easier to make it into a source of trouble for the entire company.
And I’m sorry if I sound bitter right now but my back is hurting. Is quality of mattress not health and safety thing? In this world with procedures for absolutely everything.