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dementia sufferer

Creating A Dementia Friendly Home

dementia sufferer

Alzheimer’s and Dementia are a growing concern for social workers in the United Kingdom. There is an increasingly large portion of the population who are displaying signs and symptoms of these degenerative conditions. It is becoming harder to provide every client with the resources that they need, especially when we consider that many clients with Alzheimer’s or dementia are still physically capable of living independently.

At present, the social care industry is keen to promote the idea of “living well with dementia”. This strategy encourages people to maintain their independence whilst they are still able to. Whilst this strategy helps to free up resources for those who are unable to continue to live independently, it is also believed to be in the best interest of the client. Deprivation of liberties should only be used to prevent harm to self or others.

Leading dementia charities in the United Kingdom seek to promote simple and cost-effective steps to social workers, to help them to support clients with dementia. The steps which are given also steps which clients’ friends and family members should be able to understand and follow too.

Changing the decor

As well as affecting the way that we remember things, dementia can also affect the ability to perceive and process new information. Bright and busy patterns can be confusing to the brain, especially in older dementia sufferers who struggle to see clearly. It can be especially difficult when the home is full of conflicting patterns, such as a patterned sofa in front of a patterned wall on a patterned carpet. On the other hand, strong block colours are easy to see and identify. This can also help to reduce fall risks. Having a large number of mirrors or reflective surfaces in the house can also create confusion. Discuss making subtle changes to the decorations in your client’s home. Local charities may be able to provide assistance with the decorating.

Clutter free homes

An untidy home can be confusing and distracting for a dementia patient. It can also make it very difficult to find important things when they are needed. There are plenty of dementia-friendly storage solutions which can make it easier to tidy things away and find them again when needed. Simple signs on the boxes, containers or cupboards can help the client to know what is inside the cupboard and will help them to recognise where to store items when it is time to put them away again.

Pictorial signs can be helpful for clients who have developed language recall issues. It is worth noting that the TV and radio can both cause “mental clutter”. Moving one of these devices so that it is not in the same room as the other can help to prevent them from both used at the same time and creating noise confusion. Setting a timer on the television can also help to prevent it from being left on overnight.

Mobility aids and fall reduction strategies

Dementia can cause balance, mobility and depth perception problems for clients. Make simple changes in the house to reduce trip hazards which may be missed.

A cable tidy can help to keep wires tucked out of the way, so that the client is less likely to fall. Loose rugs or mats may also become trip hazards. Assess the thresholds of the doorways in the home to see whether these pose a risk to the client. Some doorways have a slightly raised threshold which a Zimmer frame or walker can easily get caught on. Simple tools are available to make these thresholds easier to cross.

Additional mobility aids such as grab rails, mopstick rails and handles can help clients to move around their home more easily.

Great lighting

Ensure that there is plenty of light in the client’s home, as this will help to improve their vision and perception abilities. Higher watt lightbulbs produce a brighter light which will allow the client to see more clearly and make better sense of their surroundings. Make sure that there is nothing blocking the natural light which is coming through windows. Check that the curtains are easy to open and close, so that the client can use them appropriately. Curtain ties may also help to maximise the light in the room.

Keep dangerous items out of reach

Harmful chemicals should be locked away and kept in an area which is a long way away from the kitchen. Keeping strong cleaning products in the kitchen area may mean that the client is more likely to mistake them for a food or drink. Keeping these chemicals in a closed location will also make it much safer for friends and relatives to come to visit with their young children. Having young visitors can have a really therapeutic effect for clients who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.

vulnerable adults

Social Workers And The Mental Capacity Act 2005

vulnerable adults

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 was introduced to help to protect vulnerable adults who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. It contains 5 statutory principles which are designed to support the decision-making process. The first 3 principles relate to establishing a lack of capacity, whereas the final 2 principles relate to steps which should be taken once a lack of capacity is established.

  1. Presumption of Capacity

It should be assumed that an individual has mental capacity, unless it has been proven otherwise. Examples of persons who might lack capacity include; stroke patients, those with dementia, people with a severe learning disability, people with a severe brain injury, or people with a mental health condition. However, having one of these conditions doesn’t automatically mean that the person does not have the mental ability to make their own choices. It is also worth nothing that a lack of capacity may not apply to all decisions. Whilst someone may lack the capacity to make complex financial decisions, they may have the capacity to make less complex choices about their needs. It is also worth noting that a lack of capacity may be temporary. The individual may go on to regain full mental capacity in future.

  1. Supporting Individuals with their Own Decision Making

A person must be given as much help as possible to make their own decisions. This may include changing the format of the information given, so that it is easier to digest. Changing the environment that the information is given in can also make it easier for people to understand the choices. For example, a person may struggle to make a choice in an environment which they consider to be formal and intimidating. Discussing the decision in the clients own home or in a neutral space can improve their ability to understand and retain information. Even if it is established that they lack mental capacity, they should still be involved in the decision-making process, wherever possible.

  1. Unwise Decisions Do Not Denote a Lack of Capacity

It is important for professionals to realise that if a person makes a decision which may be regarded as “unwise” or “eccentric”, this does not necessarily mean that this person lacks mental capacity. The decision may have been made based on the unique beliefs, values and preferences of that individual. If the person is otherwise judged to have the mental capacity required for these decisions, then their “unwise” decision should be respected.

  1. Best Interests

If a capacity assessment finds that a person does lack the mental capacity to make a decision, then someone may be required to make a decision on the persons behalf. Any decision which is made on a person’s behalf must take into account their best interest. Some social workers are trained as Best Interest Assessors to help to maintain appropriate standards. It is worth noting that the best interests of a patient may not always be clear cut. The person who is making the decision should seek to understand the beliefs and values held by the person who is lacking mental capacity. For example, the Assessor or decision-maker should try to take into account any religious beliefs that are held by the individual.

  1. Least Restrictive Option

Any decision which is made on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity should be designed to restrict their rights and freedoms as little as possible. Steps should aim to prevent harm to the individual or to other individuals; however any actions should allow the individual as much freedom as possible to continue to pursue their own interests and beliefs. Any deprivation of liberties must be justifiable and the least restrictive option available.

How the Mental Capacity Act affects Social Workers

Social workers often work with people who are having trouble coping with social pressures. Some of these individuals may have problems with decision-making or they may make choices which others do not feel are rational or logical. In some circumstances, it may be decided that these people lack the mental capacity which is required to make decisions about their own lives. Capacity may fluctuate and people may be able to make some decisions and not others.

Social workers are often required to play a role in helping to determine whether a client has mental capacity. Because the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is the law in the United Kingdom, social workers must understand it so that they can use the principles effectively. These principles help to protect vulnerable adults. Failing to abide by the guiding principles of the Mental Capacity Act can be a breach of the duty of care towards the client. It may also be considered to be an abuse of power. Any decisions made must be justifiable and can be challenged by the Office of the Public Guardian.

Qualifications For Social Work

To become a social worker in the United Kingdom, a person needs to gain the appropriate training and qualifications. Social worker qualifications are regulated to try to make sure that a minimum quality of service is maintained across the whole country. Qualified social workers should also register with the Health Care and Professionals Council (HCPC) before they are able to practice as a social worker.

The most common qualification route in the UK is a BA (Hons) in Social Work. At undergraduate level, the qualification may just be in Social Work, but there may also be a secondary qualification. For example, Edge Hill University is able to offer degrees in a variety of joint honours programmes, such as Adult Nursing and Social Work, and Learning Disability Nursing and Social Work.

Social Work courses

There are over 150 different social work courses in England. Scotland and Wales have slightly different training provisions available. Each university and training provider has its own entry requirements for the courses that they run. You should contact individual providers to discuss your requirements. There may be some flexibility with entry requirements if you are entering university as a mature student or if you do not have standard British academic qualifications. In general, most universities will require students to have achieved 2 A-Levels. They will normally also stipulate that candidates should have achieved an A-C grade in Maths and English at GCSE level.

A full-time degree in social work usually requires 3 years of study. A part time degree can be completed in 5 or 6 years, depending on the institution which is providing the training. Students should have the opportunity to complete practical placements with real social workers. A full time degree is likely to cost around £9,000 per year, although some universities are able to offer courses at a reduced fee. Some universities also provide scholarships to eligible students who wish to study social work.

Assessed and Supported Year in Employment

Most recruiters will want applicants to have achieved a 2:1 or above in their degree, however there are opportunities available for people who are not academically successful. Those who do not achieve a 2:1 in their undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to take up an Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE). An ASYE is a 12 month employer-led programme which offers newly qualified social workers additional support and guidance whilst they learn more about the practical aspects of being a practicing social worker. An ASYE can be completed by any newly qualified social worker and is recommended for those who would prefer to be given more guidance whilst they are finding their feet in employment.

Alternative qualifications

People who did not do an undergraduate degree in social work may be able to become a social worker with an alternative qualification. Any student with an undergraduate degree can apply to do a Masters in Social Work. If your undergraduate degree is in a very different subject, the university may wish to interview you to find out whether you are a suitable candidate for a Masters in Social Work. A Masters in Social Work normally takes 2 years to complete. A part time degree will normally take 3 or 4 years to complete, depending on the provider. The cost of a Masters degree varies a lot between providers, so you may wish to look around at prices if money is a concern.

People with an undergraduate in Social Work may also wish to undertake a Masters level degree in Social Work. A Masters level may give them a greater opportunity to specialise in an area of social work which they are primarily interested in.

criminal assault

What To Do If You Are Attacked At Work

criminal assault

Whilst some people may argue that the risk factor to social workers is “just a part of the job”, it is important for any employee to feel safe at work. Attempts to normalise violence in the workplace should be reduced and appropriate steps should always be taken to support employees who have been involved in a violent incident as part of their job.

Health and Safety at Work

As part of the Health and Safety at Work Act (an overview can be seen here), employers have a duty of care toward all of their employees. They must take steps to mitigate risks wherever possible. If a client is deemed to pose a threat to staff members, then every step must be taken to eliminate the risk or reduce the risk to the lowest possible level. Staff should also be given the correct training on how to react in the event of serious or imminent danger. Failing to provide this training or taking adequate risk mitigation strategies can mean that an employer is in breach of the HSWA and they could be liable for prosecution or a large fine.

As part of the HSWA, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggests a 5 step approach to risk reduction;

  • look for any hazards;
  • decide who could be harmed and how;
  • assess the risks and decide on precautions;
  • record the findings and then implement them;
  • and then review the assessment and update it if it’s necessary.

If you have been attacked in the workplace and you do not think that your employer took adequate steps such as those listed above, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

What to do if you have been attacked

If you are attacked, you should always seek assistance in the first instance. Notify the police about the incident and get medical attention. Even if you do not feel as though the incident was serious, you should still visit the doctor so that they can assess your injuries. They may want to make sure that you have not been affected by any hidden biological or chemical threats. This is particularly important if you were spat at or scratched during the assault.

Make sure that you report the incident to your workplace immediately. They should work with you to create a thorough report about what happened. This report should then be used to take appropriate actions against the perpetrator and can be used as evidence by the police if necessary. Your organisation should also use this report to help to support other social workers in the organisation if they need to interact with the same client again in future. Risk minimisation steps which are taken in future can include; only visiting the particular client with a police presence, or only interacting with that client at the central office. It may not be appropriate for you to continue working with that particular client in the future, and therefore your case may be handed to one of your colleagues. This is not a reflection on your skills as a social worker.

The next course of action may depend on what happened during the incident. After a violent assault, most social work organisations will arrange counselling or time off of work to recover. Counselling can help you to deal with the psychological effects of a physical attack and therefore it is a good idea to take it up if it is offered to you. Talking about an incident with a professional is a good way to express your feelings about the incident.

Making a claim for compensation

If you feel that you have been injured in the workplace because your employer failed to take adequate precautions, then you may be able to file a claim for compensation. A personal injury lawyer should be able to tell you whether you have a valid claim. Many claims professionals are able to offer a free consultation session in the first instance.

If you do not want to take action against your employer or if you feel that they took the right steps to protect you, you may still be able to get compensation for your injuries. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) helps in compensation claims from individuals who have suffered physically or mental injuries by a criminal act, such as an assault. It is normally only possible to make a claim though CICA if you have brought charges against the person, or people, who assaulted, threatened or harassed you. The CICA website contains a lot of information about how to make a criminal compensation claim. The police may also be able to offer you some support and advice.

risk assessment

Risk Assessments For Social Workers

risk assessment

The Health and Safety at Work Act requires all social care providers to produce an adequate risk assessment strategy for tasks that are performed at work. Risk assessments are designed to ensure that all employees can work in a healthy and safe environment, and that all service users are treated safely and with dignity. A risk assessment may be carried out by the employer or a trained employee.

The Health and Safety Executive suggests all employers use a 5 step framework to create good risk assessments. This framework should be adapted by individual employers to meet the individual organisations needs; however it is a good idea to use similar heading. The HSE Framework can be broken down as follows:

Look for hazards

Consider which tasks could involve a risk or hazard. Some risks and hazards may be more obvious than others. Hazards may also present themselves to social workers which might not exist in other workplaces. It may be a good idea to mentally run through each task to help consider what hazards might exist. It is a good idea to create a new risk assessment for every client, because each individual has their own unique needs. For example, making hot drinks could be a scalding/burning risk in an activity with someone who has dexterity and mobility issues in their hands. On the other hand, tasks involving sharp objects may be identified as a potential risk factor when working with violent offenders.

Decide who might be harmed and how

It is important to identify who might be at risk of injury from the hazards which have been identified. Sometimes the risk will be to the employee, whilst at other times the risk could be to the service user. In some cases, the risk of injury could be to a third party. More than one person can be affected by a potential hazard.

Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

Risks should be evaluated to identify whether they are high risk, medium risk or low risk. Steps should then be decided on to minimise or completely eliminate the risks. In some cases, the benefits may easily outweigh the risks for a low risk hazard, and no precautionary steps have to be taken. If it is not possible to minimise the risks to an appropriate level, then the activity or task may need to be avoided completely.

Record the findings and implement them

The risk assessment should be clearly recorded and stored so that it can be revisited when necessary. All relevant employees should have access to the risk assessment, so that they can understand the potential hazards. A codified risk assessment will also help the organisation to prove what they have done to mitigate risk if there is an incident. Steps should be taken to implement all of the precautions which were set out in the risk assessment. Failing to implement these steps can put people at risk and may leave the organisation open to accusations of negligence and personal injury claims.

Review the assessment and update if necessary

The risk assessment should be reviewed regularly and updated if necessary. The risks which are associated with a particular activity may have changed due to a change in circumstances with the client. On the other hand, new activities may need to feature in the risk assessment. Any new activities should be added to the risk assessment before they are undertaken, so that adequate risk reduction precautions can be undertaken. In some cases, it may be decided that existing precautions are not good enough. A risk assessment may also need to be changed to stay in line with updated social care legislation.

Examples from Social Care

A serious violent offender may need support during their rehabilitation period. They are known to have offended in their own home and it has previously been shown that their violence is always directed towards women. The risk assessment strategy may suggest that the client is always visited by two people in a neutral location. A police liaison officer or PCSO may be utilised to help to keep the support workers safe. If possible, a male social worker should lead on the case to reduce risk.

An older client with limited mobility and dementia may struggle with cooking in their own home; however it is something that they enjoy doing and it allows them to maintain their independence. Because there is a lot of benefit to the person being able to continue to cook, the risk assessment should focus on how to reduce risks for all involved. There are plenty of tools and devices which are designed to help people to open jars and carry heavy objects in the kitchen. These reduce the likelihood of dangerous spillages. There are also devices which can reduce the likelihood of people leaving the gas on in their kitchen.

myths and reality

Busting Myths About Social Work

myths and reality

There are a lot of myths about social work in the United Kingdom. In order to understand the social work sector correctly, it is important to explore some of these myths.

Social Workers are all unqualified Do-Gooders

Some members of the public assume that social workers are just well-meaning people who want to involve themselves in other people’s business. However, this is not the case. Although kindness and integrity are important qualities for a social worker, all social workers must also display academic skill. It is important for social workers to be properly trained before they become involved with clients. Social workers must have an undergraduate university qualification (or equivalent) to be able to practice.

Social workers in the UK must also be registered with an industry body. The industry body helps to ensure that standards are maintained across the country. A national framework is in place to ensure that all senior social workers have proven their abilities and met certain standards.

Social workers must also pass a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. This check is done to ensure that the social worker does not have a criminal history which could affect their ability to work with vulnerable people.

Social Workers try to break up families

Social workers are often portrayed as child snatchers or home wreckers; however this is far from the truth. In reality, social workers will always do everything that they can to try to keep a family together, as long as they can reduce the risk of harm to all of the family members. In the circumstances where social workers decide that it is no longer appropriate for children to live with their birth parents, social services will try to place the children with close friends or other family members wherever possible.

There is a tendency for families to mistrust social workers, because they feel that an outsider is coming in and judging their family. However, the primary goal of social workers is to support and protect vulnerable people. In most occasions, removing a child from a family will help to protect multiple individuals. This act helps to protect the parents as well as the children.

Parents are able to get help and support before they do something that they may not be able to recover from. Most forced separations are only temporary and they give parents the opportunity to sort things out and prepare for the return of the child or children.

Being a Social Worker is very dangerous

Many people think that being a social worker is a dangerous job and always involves working with dangerous people; however this is not always the case. Although social workers can face threats, verbal abuse and harassment, there are systems in place to try to protect social workers. The British Association of Social Workers runs regular courses for social workers who want additional guidance on dealing with potentially violent individuals. Each organisation should also conduct risk assessments to help to reduce the risks faced by social workers.

Potentially violent individuals will be treated with special consideration and social workers may use the support of Police Community Support Officers (PCSO). Organisations should also have additional measures in place to safeguard lone workers. These measures aim to support Lone workers if an incident does occur, by getting help as quickly as possible.

Social Workers only work with poor people

Social workers aim to help some of the most vulnerable people in society, and this may involve working with people in lower socio-economic groups. However; social work is not limited to poorer people. Social workers may also work with other groups, including; older people, people with learning difficulties, people with mental health issues, children with developmental disorders and people who are hoping to be able to foster or adopt vulnerable children. They work to try to maintain equality and diversity in all community groups. Social workers may also work with people who have a criminal past, such as young offenders or people who are leaving prison. This is important work as it helps people to reintegrate into society.

Social workers should be volunteers and not tax-payer funded

Social work has a basis in voluntary work and some social workers do work for charitable organisations. However, state funded social workers play a very important part in maintaining a functional society. Many social workers are involved in the care of the elderly, who have already contributed to British economy and society throughout their lives. Social workers help older people to maintain their dignity in their old age.

Everyone else in society also has a right to be supported during difficult periods. Being a social worker can be a difficult job and social workers should be paid an appropriate amount for what they do. Relying on voluntary workers would mean that many vulnerable people did not get access to the care that they need.

career ladder

Advice For Career Progression In Social Work

career ladder

Career progression in the social work industry allows people to have the opportunity to help and support even more people. Although progression can come with a slight salary increase, there is not normally a huge salary range for social workers in the UK. An entry level salary is around £24,000 per year, with the most experienced social workers earning about £40,000. Those who are on £40,000 per year normally have a management responsibility.

At present, career progression opportunities are harder to come by, because budget cuts across the UK have led to a lot of mid-level posts being frozen. It is therefore important that you start preparing early if you want to move up the career ladder. If you are hoping to move up the career ladder, you should consider the following advice.

Understanding the Professional Capabilities Framework

The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) is a framework which has been created by the Social Work Reform Board to set out consistent expectations of the capabilities of social workers at each stage of their career. This helps to ensure that social workers across the UK continue to meet the same standards, regardless of where they are based. It also provides a structure around which social workers can plan their professional development. Understanding the PCF will help you to understand what you need to be able to achieve in order to progress to the next level. You can take Continuing Professional Development steps to build your skills in any areas where they are lacking.

Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) allows employees to build on their skills, knowledge and experience whilst in the workplace. Most workplaces have their own CPD program which enables employees to access training opportunities through the organisation. This helps staff members to bring new skills and experiences to the office. If your workplace does not have its own CPD programme, then it is possible to access a range of training opportunities through the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). BASW runs courses, seminars and discussion groups to help to share best practice throughout the social work sector in the UK. When a career progression opportunity does come up, you will be able to use your new skills and experiences to support your application.

Mentoring Schemes

If possible, join a mentoring scheme in your local area. These schemes match junior social workers with veteran social workers so that they can share knowledge, skills and experiences with one another. These arrangements are really beneficial for both parties, because the veteran social workers get the chance to hear lots of fresh ideas and experiences which they may not have considered otherwise. A veteran social worker also gains experience of mentoring, which may prove to be very useful for their own career progression.

Although some organisations offer an in-house mentoring programme, it may be better to try to gain access to a mentoring scheme which matches up social workers from external organisations, because this will give you the opportunity to share best practice amongst different groups. Later on in your career, you should also strive to become a mentor in one of these schemes, because this is a brilliant thing to put on your CV.

Seek Out Additional Opportunities

Seek out additional opportunities and responsibilities as part of your existing role. If you have any ideas about how to improve the existing system, try making these suggestions to your line managers. Give evidence about how you could implement your ideas or what the benefits could be. Even if your line manager does not want you to implement these ideas (for whatever reason); they will then be more likely to think of you for any projects which need to be completed in the future. Eagerness and enthusiasm is normally rewarded in the workplace. Showing that you can take on extra responsibilities will support your progression up the career ladder.

Expand your Network

In addition to mentoring programmes, you should try to build your network in other ways. This can help you to raise your profile in your workplace and in the wider social worker community. If more people know about you, then they will be more likely to consider you for new opportunities and projects which they may be working on. Opportunities to expand your network in the office might include; joining the staff social committee, assisting with steering groups and completing in-house training courses. All of these things will enable you to meet new people that you may not normally have the opportunity to meet. You can expand your network outside of your current workplace by joining a b-2-b social network like LinkedIn. Try to connect with the people that you meet at external training and seminars that you attend.

social care

What Is Social Work/ Social Care?

social care

Social work is a very broad term which can be quite hard to define, especially because different people have different ideas about what social work is for and who should do it. The difficulties in defining the term arise from the fact that the parameters and roles of social work are constantly evolving. Each nation takes a different approach to social work and how social care is provided to citizens. This article will look at the main concepts of social work which are used in the United Kingdom.

The aim of social work

Social work aims to provide support for people to help them to deal with the personal and social issues which affect their lives. Social workers do not aim to solve every problem, but they do hope to be able to help people to adapt to enable them to cope. Giving people the tools to help them to cope in future is part of creating a sustainable strategy to allow clients to continue to live independently.

Social workers in the United Kingdom are asked to work with a wide range of different people. They can work with individuals or families to provide support. People can refer themselves to social services for support, but it is also possible for external organisations to refer people. Third parties which refer clients to social services may include; the police, medical professionals, housing associations, prisons, care homes or school teachers. People who are supported by social workers include; families, adults and children with learning difficulties, teenagers with mental health issues, young offenders, elderly people, people with substance abuse issues, prisoners, refugees and asylum seekers, carers, fosterers and potential adopters, and families who are required to live apart.

Social work strategies

Strategies of social work in the UK are largely underpinned by the major principles of human rights and social justice. Social workers must consider whether people are at risk and whether any crime has been or may be about to be committed. Steps should always be taken to reduce risk. Whenever possible, these steps should seek to avoid the deprivation of liberties. Removal and restrictions of freedoms should be one of the last options used in social work, and the benefits of this step should be clearly identifiable. In most cases, liberties are only restricted for a person when they are believed to be a risk to themselves or others.

What is social care?

Social care is one of the terms which is used to refer to the strategies which are used to help to care for people who are in need. Social care is provided to help to prevent physical or mental deterioration wherever possible, or to help to give people as much dignity as possible if it is not possible to prevent physical or mental deterioration. Social care strategies also aim to reduce isolation and promote social inclusion for people who may be otherwise unable to participate.
Social care is normally coordinated and funded by the local authority (council). The actual provision of the care can be done by either a public or a private body. Care provision from the local authority may be means-tested. Therefore some members of society may not be eligible for some of the types of social care that are available from local authority. However, the local authority may be able to give advice about how to find private providers who offer similar support services for those in need.

Social care can include community activities, as well as the provision of services and equipment. Advocacy and advice services can also come under the umbrella of social care, where these services are providing a social support function. A lot of the equipment which is provided as part of social care packages is designed to help people to continue to live independently. It may be possible to install special equipment into the clients own home to help them to meet their medical needs. Social care grant funding may be available for this on means-tested basis. Social care provisions can also include respite care, care homes and nursing home facilities.

In the United Kingdom, most social workers are a member of a union. Unions aim to provide support and guidance to members, as well as producing policy documents which aim to shape national legislation. The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has nearly 20,000 members across the United Kingdom. The number of social workers in the United Kingdom has fluctuated in recent years because of funding cuts to the sector. However, the number of people requiring social work and social care referrals has actually increased. The BASW are currently involved in lobbying the government and local authorities to help to ensure than more money is provided to the social care sector. This is an essential feature of being able to provide adequate social care to the citizens of the United Kingdom.

continuing professional development

Continuing Professional Development Courses For Social Workers

continuing professional development

Continuing professional development is one of the best ways to improve your skill set and progress up the career ladder. There are lots of different courses and seminars available for qualified social workers who want to complete further training. Some of these courses are useful to all social workers, whereas other courses are better suited to people who want to specialise in one particular area of social care.

First Aid

Social workers are not given first aid training as standard; however many qualified social workers consider this to be a major oversight in the qualification schedule. Social workers in some areas are quite likely to encounter accidents and injuries, so it can be important for them to understand what actions they need to take. Good first aid skills can help to reduce the impact of a serious accident and can help clients to ensure that they get access to the right treatment for minor incidents. Being able to administer quick and correct first aid can help to save lives.

First aid is particularly valuable for social workers who work with a client base who are likely to injure themselves more regularly, due to existing physical vulnerabilities or due to mental conditions which make them less risk averse. For example, a social worker who works with adults with learning difficulties may find that their client has injured themselves whilst trying to make a cup of tea. Their client may be unsure about how to deal with the burn. A qualified first aider can provide initial treatment and assess whether the scald or burn is serious enough to warrant further medical attention. Basic First Aid courses are available from a wide range of providers across the country.

Mental Health First Aid

It is now possible for social workers to do a course in “Mental Health First Aid”. A mental health first aid course helps people to try to spot the first signs and symptoms of a mental health concern. Providing the right treatment for mental ill health in the first instance can help to prevent symptoms from worsening and being harder to treat.

Health and Safety

The Health and Safety at Work Act stipulates that all employees should have relevant health and safety training. Every organisation should provide basic health and safety training to new employees as part of the induction process. There is no definitive list of the points which should be covered during the induction, because each role and organisation has different working requirements. Basic points which may be covered (depending on the requirements of the job) can include; safe use of computer technology, lifting and handling techniques, and advice about reducing slips, trips and falls.

Legislation Courses

The BASW regularly runs courses about new pieces of legislation which have been introduced which may affect the way that social workers do their jobs. They aim to help to ensure that the standard of care remains consistent across the country, whilst helping social workers to understand the new legislation in an easily digestible way. Legal texts can be difficult to understand, so these courses help to break legislation down so that it is more relevant to the staff who it affects.

The BASW also runs refresher courses on pieces of legislation which have existed for a long time. For example, there are regular refresher courses on the Mental Capacity Act, because this piece of legislation remains relevant to a huge number of social workers in the United Kingdom.

Best Interest Assessor (BIA)

A Best Interest Assessor qualification gives a social worker the tools which are required to make Best Interest decisions. These are decisions which are taken on behalf of people who lack mental capacity, as per the Mental Capacity Act of 2005. A Best Interest Assessor may be required when a person is receiving care or treatment which they are unable to provide informed consent for, due to a lack of mental capacity. Decisions on treatment must be made with the client’s best interests at heart. Their best interest may not always be clear cut, because a person centred approach is needed. A qualified BIA must be able to consider a wide range of different factors and be happy to justify the decisions that they have made on behalf of a person who cannot make their own informed choices.

Risk Management

Risk management training is very important for social workers in various settings. Although basic risk management training is included in most social work qualifications, advanced risk management training enables participants to develop a stronger understanding of how to manage risk amongst the highest risk groups. Strategies are designed to safeguard clients, social workers and members of the public. These courses are ideal for people who want to work with high risk groups, such as violent offenders or those who have been charged with committing sexual offenses.