B1 Intermediate US 73 Folder Collection
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Sunday morning, and Sam Swann an emergency duty social worker is starting
a long shift. Sam, like all EDT colleagues works when others don't.
Weekends, nights and bank holidays. The work is diverse and the caseload usually heavy.
We cover the whole spectrum of Social Work really in terms of working
with children and families, mental health services, people with learning
disabilities and people with physical disabilities and also old people; so
really we cover a wide spectrum predominantly and nine times out of ten
we work on our own, we work through the night which means that we have to
prioritise work, we have to do assessments and investigations so
there's a lot of responsibility and accountability really because obviously
we have to stand by those decisions that we make at that time.
After a handover from
the colleague she's relieving, Sam's work starts. Almost immediately the phone
calls begin.
[On the phone] That's custody okay appropriate adult okay...
A 16 year old is being held at Telford's main police station suspected of carrying an
offensive weapon. By law an appropriate adult must be with him to safeguard his
welfare and ensure that he understands all procedures and any charges being
brought against him. As his parents are refusing to attend that role will fall
to Sam. So the officers are ready to go but the sister is not there.
Ok, well if you can give me a call when the solicitor has gone into consultation
I'll come along then ... all right then so we'll give you a ring just before we arrive ok?
Sam's next case is a woman at a local
hospital who's causing staff concern. Sam may need to undertake a mental health
assessment. She discusses the case with the co-cited community nurse crisis team.
She's been placed on a ward where she's continued to complain of physical
complaints but their medical sort of investigations don't
identify that there's any medical problem okay so she's
known to us - she's care coordinated is she?
presumably they'll let us know if they become concerned about her behaviour.
Jointly, they decide that no immediate action is needed as the hospital will
hold the patient until Monday and Sam's phone is ringing again it's the call
she's been expecting from the custody suite [On the phone] She's in consultation okay
so we'll come over see you shortly bye-bye - that was sergeant from custody
there the solicitors arrived so we need to make our way over - to custody.
The EDT role demands experience and Sam has plenty. She left school at 16 and came
into Social Work through an admin job.
I was appointed a social work assistant
and I also had a varied caseload at the time I worked at the local psychiatric
hospital I also had a few cases where children were on the child protection
register as it was known at that time
I qualified in 1995 and chose to come back
into predominantly child protection, I became team manager covering the
north side of Telford and stayed in team management for probably about four
years until the job came up in EDT
Very rare opportunity for a job to come up in the emergency duty team where I am now so it
was an ideal opportunity really to go back in as a practitioner because
you have that experience and knowledge base I think it's fair to say
that we all feel fairly confident in doing the job but that's not to say that
it's not tough at times and sometimes you do question 'is this the right thing to do?'
Well this one acutally was record time I would say we were in and out really within probably
an hour which is pretty amazing, that's pretty good. He admitted it, he was
charged and he's been bailed to go to court a week on Wednesday.
Back at the
office there are concerns that an elderly woman is not coping alone at
home [on the phone] because she's having four calls a day isn't she so she'll have had a
morning one. Sam checks in with the woman's home care service so it's the
same carer going in so that's good so she'll notice if there's
any change won't she if there's anything she's worried about okay all
right then thanks Linda bye!
It seems to be good news and Sam will
continue to monitor the situation. In the meantime there's a new message waiting...
That is our shop doc, our out of hours GP service who wants help with a lady who's
suffering with severe anxiety and some symptoms of depression.
A phone call to
the doctor who has visited the patient reveals the woman's condition could be
serious. The fact that she's not eating and drinking from a medical point of view
how will that impact? She sounds very unwell
So I've got a coordinator for Mental Health Act
assessment on this lady - she's a 64 year old lady who he says is not actually
previously known to mental health services and has had problems with
anxiety now for the past month or so, things have escalated in the last 10
days. This assessment now takes priority over Sam's other referrals and she
swings into action. Several phone calls later she's on the road as an approved
mental health practitioner Sam's job is to coordinate and take an active role in the assessment.
I've arranged to meet the psychiatrist
and another GP at the address the three of us have to assess and agree a plan really.
It's up to Sam to look at alternatives to hospital and ensure the
woman's rights are protected. We need to talk to the husband and get his views
about the situation and then make a decision then about the best way forward
Over the course of two hours, Sam and the doctors decide the woman does need to be admitted to psychiatric hospital.
The woman's husband agreed to support the decision of the team.
Mental health assessments are always well...
they're just difficult really it's quite stressful she was really very sad but
I think the way we wrestle with that is you have to decide what's in the best
interests of the of the service user really.
As evening falls EDT manager
Helen Jones arrives to discuss the day's caseload with Sam
what sort of the day if you had today then?
It's been pretty busy actually, in fact I'm glad you've come in because there's one or
two things we can probably pass over for tomorrow but I need just to run them past
you then if that's all right.
Sam agrees with Helen that it would be best
if they attend the next case together. It's a child protection matter and requires a home visit.
They are families where daytime services
have got concerns about neglect and issues around a lack of supervision and
the parents' lifestyle so in the daytime it's difficult to
obtain evidence if that's what's needed, of what's actually going on in the
families in the evening so that's what we're going to do.
We'll need to you know
check the family home; let's see if the children are in bed make sure
that there's enough provisions but generally that things are okay and mum's coping well.
There are nearly 200 children in Telford under social services protection. Sam and the
emergency duty team regularly undertake these checks for their daytime colleagues.
She was in bed when we got there so she was quite defensive I
suppose understandably if we'd woken her up, but the children were asleep in bed
there was no suggestion that she'd been drinking which is the major concern
really it's about her drinking rather than her lifestyle.
You expect to have some defensiveness when somebody's calling at your house at that time really
It is quite late really... in fact it's now after 11 p.m.
Helen goes home to sleep before her Monday starts but Sam's shift continues.
There's still work to be done on several referrals from the morning.
A mother of three is claiming her jealous partner has threatened her.
It's in relation to a child protection matter, a domestic violence incident.
The man's already wanted by officers. If he's in custody Sam can take the opportunity to speak to the woman.
She's now checking that with the police.
He's made threats to burn
down the house with the children in it... so he's not been arrested he's not
in custody at the moment okay great thanks for your help, cheers bye!
Ok the situation remains the same so I'll just hand that out back
to safeguarding in the morning and let them know that he's still not been
arrested and they'll just liaise with the police again in trying to coordinate something.
Fifteen hours after the start of her
shift the calls keep on coming. Many are from carers reporting looked after
children who've outstayed their curfews. Sam risk assess each case.
The outstanding thing now for me is to write all the work up that I've done today so
that's really going to take up my time over the next few hours and hopefully
try and get a bit of rest period as well.
I guess really the rewards of the job
are the outcomes whether it's the outcomes for children for any client
group really it's the diversity of the work really you come on duty you really
don't know what what you're going to be faced with that day and I
enjoy that and it's challenging, there's a lot of on-the-job decision making,
quick thinking that's what I enjoy. As an emergency duty worker I guess one of the
rewards is, for instance, for an older person you know there are a lot of old
people who want to be at home and they feel safe at
home that's where they want to be and quite often we just get referrals saying
this person can't be at home they've got to go into into residential care and
there are ways of avoiding that sometimes and it's good if the outcome
means that we can provide support to enable that person to to maintain their
independence. The same can be said I think of people with learning
disabilities it's good to feel that you're helping people with learning
disabilities to maintain their independence and to become a part of the
community really.
It's Monday morning and Sam's shift is completed. Her colleagues now take over
and they're another part of what she finds rewarding about the job.
There is some good work that takes place and there's a lot of people who work really hard
and there's a lot of humour, in the day time service there's
certainly a lot of team and support for each other and and whilst we might not
get the recognition for it for the reasons of confidentiality or
that the human rights legislation all kinds of reasons for
that, but what's good about daytime services certainly is that you can
actually recognize it with each other and you can say to each other you did a
really good job there and that was a tough decision but it was the right
decision and you did well and I think the thing about Social Work is that we
learn we learn a lot from each other really, you know that that's a good thing
and there is a lot of camaraderie really between individuals and yeah we do
overlap sometimes you know and because that's the sort of thing that keeps you going.
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What is social work? Emergency Duty Team

73 Folder Collection
540455851 published on January 22, 2020
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