Could you be a support worker?
A support worker’s job is all about helping people who require care to live their lives with as much independence and choice as possible. Every day is different, and support workers often find themselves having to make decisions about what action they should take in a variety of different situations.
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Support work: do you have what it takes?
Do you have what it takes to change lives?
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Support work: do you have what it takes?
Hot drink mishap
You are supporting Brendan when he burns himself while making a hot drink. You’re worried this might happen again. What do you do?
It's possible that implementation of some personalised technology could help Brendan continue to make and enjoy his hot drinks independently, while reducing the risk of him burning himself. These options should be explored.
Harriet is overweight and has asked staff to support her to lose weight. Staff have been supporting her to go to a slimming group to get weighed weekly. While out on a shopping trip Harriet sees a large piece of chocolate cake in a café and gets upset as she wants to purchase it. What do you do?
The Mental Capacity Act protects people's rights to make their own decisions, so this is Harriet's choice to make. Your job is to make sure that she understands the reasons for and against buying the slice of cake.
Amelia has come in to the day centre when you realise she’s forgotten to bring her medication from home. What do you do?
Ensuring that Amelia takes her medication is important, but using someone else's is not an option. Asking your manager for guidance is the right thing to do, as they can explore options such as phoning home to get the medication delivered, or contacting the GP for guidance.
You are out in the community supporting Adam to complete his voluntary placement in a charity shop. It’s the end of the shift and Adam is refusing to leave the shop. Do you:
Distraction techniques are a good non-restrictive option here, though if they didn't work, contacting your manager for guidance would be a good back-up solution, so if you chose this option award yourself a bonus point! Leaving Adam on his own isn't an option, and neither is trying to force him to leave.
Out of character?
You support Molly who likes her own company and is very independent. She’s suddenly uncharacteristically extroverted and cheerful and wants to socialise a lot more than normal. What do you do?
You need to let Molly know that she can tell you anything, and your manager needs to be made aware. A change in character might be nothing, but it could also be a sign of an underlying issue, such as abuse, and so shouldn't be ignored.
Ali, who you support, is a Muslim and wants to be supported to go to his local mosque. You’re not religious. How do you respond?
Asking a Muslim colleague might seem appropriate, but they might not always be available, so this isn't really the best solution. Remember, this isn't about your personal beliefs, it's about what Ali wants to do, so you should support him to go to the mosque - though you should contact the mosque first, to check the process.
You're supporting Lucy when the fire alarm suddenly sounds. You expect it’s just a drill. What do you do?
Fire alarms should always be taken seriously, and Lucy’s individual fire evacuation plan exists for just such a situation. Follow the plan.
During a group workshop you are helping support four people. Tariq becomes extremely anxious and starts interrupting and talking loudly over others, causing severe anxieties for the three other people. What do you do?
Tariq's behaviour is likely an indicator of an underlying issue, in this case his own anxiety. Taking the time to talk with Tariq and giving him some extra reassurance will help ensure that the workshop can continue without anyone missing out.
You’re in the supermarket with Henry who has put a lot of unhealthy food in his trolley that he doesn’t have enough money to pay for. What do you do?
As Henry’s support worker, in this situation your job is to make sure that he is supported to manage his own finances, and exercise his right to make his own choices.
While it’s important that Henry is supported to understand the importance of eating a balanced diet so that he can make informed decisions, he also needs to be empowered to choose his own shopping.
Romeo and Juliet
Michael who you support has proposed to his partner. His family don’t approve and have asked you to discourage him from seeing his partner. What do you do?
Michael is an adult and has mental capacity. Your job is to advocate for Michael, and that means respecting his choice, even if it means difficult (but non-confrontational) conversations with his family. Ultimately, you're doing the best you can for their loved one.