Ethics & Decision Making

Paper 12: 'Everyone Deserves a Chance' - A Domiciliary Care SA training initiative for staff working in complex home environments

Margaret Pitcher and Kitty Gilchrist, Social Workers, Domiciliary Care, SA

This presentation will map part of a journey currently underway for staff at DCSA working in complex home environments. Often these situations are labelled as squalor / hoarding / neglect / clutter. Some years ago a group of Social Workers met to share practice wisdom. From this many challenges emerged one of which has been how to extend and develop this knowledge as well as keeping it alive and dynamic at a local level.

This year a project was initiated by a cross section of workers looking at how we can best train and support staff working in this area. This has involved working actively with our Personal Support staff as well as listening to and promoting the voices of the people alongside whom we work. The idea of a video emerged as an effective medium for conveying key themes. The video 'Everyone Deserves a Chance' is a core component of the training workshops.

This paper will show excerpts from the video, describe some of the hopes of the Training Workshop, and point out how effective work in this area can lead to other benefits.

It will also discuss our intentional choice to recognise value and promote knowledge and skills already known and used by staff, in preference to deferring to expert knowledge, understandings or "solutions". This is a reflection of our endeavour to remain client centred and to look beyond labels to the stories and life struggles of the people with whom we work.