Sunday, July 31 2011
“Are we moving the full circle?”
People with a disability originally lived with their family, in the family home. Then institutions were developed. These were subsequently closed in favour of more individual support through group homes in the community. Now we see group homes, and similar, losing favour to self- directed approaches
CRUs came out of the failure of institutions, and SDA came out of the failure of CRUs and Day Centres. There are, however, those who say the principle of CRUs and Day Centres can never be right. They say it’s SDA or the highway!
CRU or SDA – That is the question!
LISA Inc believes it is “Horses for Courses”, and “SDA v CRU” will be the subject of a main LISA email bulletin, shortly. Nevertheless, LISA remains committed to consistent and meaningful quality of life care for people, no matter where they live.
We welcome your comments on this controversial subject!
Sunday, July 31 2011
Time-in-lieu is a process allowing staff to take time off in lieu of payment. Time-in-lieu is also used where staff are, allegedly, not able to take a meal break.
The time-in-lieu process is frequently used in direct care services for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities. The process has the potential to seriously reduce the quality of life care of the very people the service is intended to serve – people needing PCAS and PBS.
Time-in-lieu of payment directly reduces the staff hours at the service point! This generally impacts on the level of developmental, interactive and social care being provided, rather than on basic care. This means that the lifestyle of the residents of supported accommodation group homes (CRUs) isolated in the community becomes more isolated and looking at four walls!
Time-in-lieu of meal breaks can be quite questionable, especially where the point of employment is isolated - like supported accommodation group homes in the community. It is quite easy for staff to claim they had no time for their meal break, and leave early. Again, those who are disadvantaged are those the service is intended to serve, the most vulnerable, the most disadvantaged – people with limited intellectual capacity.
The use of time-in-lieu makes it is very difficult for service management to monitor staff working hours. If a staff member leaves, say two hours early, unnoticed by management, then no excuse is needed! If, however, the action of leaving early comes to the notice of service management, the staff person can say that they are using accumulated time-in-lieu… “Always keep some T.I.L. up ones sleeve!”
Wednesday, July 27 2011
A resident of a DHS group home where most of the direct care staff were “casual staff”, had just sneakers – these were worn summer and winter.
With the very wet weather this year, the young man’s feet got wet, and remained wet all day at his day service. As a direct result, he got very badly infected feet.
No staff saw it as their responsibility to purchase the young man a good pair of shoes. And many day centres have been intimidated by the DHS not to report questionable occurrences, such as poor clothing, poor grooming and poor lunches.
Indeed, one day service got so sick of DHS clients arriving in unsuitable footwear, that they sought donations of shoes from a shoe store.
Yet another resident of a DHS group home, arrived at his day centre in just socks!
NOTE: “Parents must live forever!”
Wednesday, July 20 2011
Direct care staff who are frequently looking for a bargain, are a major problem for house supervisors, and can limit the quality of care of residents in supported accommodation group homes, through causing inconsistency of care level and quality Work shifts for direct care staff in group homes have a bevy of variable factors, with endless degrees of attractiveness or otherwise.
Most attraction is the remuneration – penalty rates! Other factors to be considered are, the hours, one’s personal needs outside the job, the residents, residents’ medical appointments, the staff, the amount of paperwork, the house supervisor, the expectations, the managers and the residents’ families – to name but a few
Where staff are rostered-on unattractive shifts, they can find a reason not to do these, and to seek more attractive extra hours shifts.
Many unattractive shifts could be made far more attractive, if remuneration was made directly proportional to the degree of difficulty and stress......
"Who would work in a challenging behaviour situation, when the same remuneration is offered for a low support situation?"
Tuesday, July 19 2011
Frequently heard at DHS House Staff Meetings, is the House Supervisor telling staff about a management directive to do - “Active Support (PCAS)/Positive Behaviour Support/PCP/BSP".....
“We all know this is crap, but we have to do it!”
Tuesday, July 19 2011
This state government department provides a large percentage of direct care services throughout the state, funds most of the non government direct care services and controls almost all placements throughout the state, through the DSR (Disability Support Register) – The waiting list for all services funded by the DHS – which is almost all of them.
The department considers the relatively few complaints it receives, in comparison to the number of services it provides, shows it must be doing it right.
It does not consider that any complaint, demonstrates it is not getting it right. The level of complaints is low for the reasons detailed by the ODSC:-
- fear of being victimised for making a complaint
- fear of having the service withdrawn
- being branded as a trouble maker or appearing ungrateful to the service provider
- lack of confidence that any real or lasting change will eventuate from the complaints process
- costs that may be associated with pursuing a complaint.
These fears, combined with high levels of unmet need and a lack of alternative service options, are often a strong motivation for people with a disability and their families to put up with a poor service rather than complain. This is further complicated in regional Victoria, where there may be only one disability service provider in an area.
The following factors affecting frequency of complaints also need to be considered by providers when developing, putting into practice and assessing their complaints process and management:
- Complainants may not be aware of the process
- The complaints process may not be readily accessible
- If a complainant has had a negative experience in the past, they may fear unpleasant or unfavourable treatment by the service provider when lodging a current complaint.
Whilst disability service providers may believe that they have sound complaints management systems in place it is important to ascertain the views of service users in order to confirm that this is the case.
Although DHS policy state this should occur, it does not consider complaints as tools to service improvement.
Its management is reactive, not pro-active. Consumers with service level and quality concerns have to repeatedly raise their concerns against department opposition and denial.
Department management frequently state, ‘complaints are the complainants opinion’. Inferring, the complainant is wrong from the outset.
They never come to consumers who have concerns - like good business in the market place who want to enhance their customer relations
It does not consider that 90% of solving a problem, is admitting you have one. The department spends more resources supporting its in-denial strategies, than it would have fixing its strategic problems.
It has no reason to solve customer concerns, as it has a captive market, and consumers can go to no other service which takes funding from the DHS, unless the DHS agree, as the DHS controls the DSR state wide
It cannot solve customer concerns caused directly or indirectly by staff lore, as its management cannot man-manage staff lore.
Staff with secure, public service employment, can claim bullying, intimidation and interference under work cover legislation.
Saturday, July 16 2011
If you are a direct care worker with the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Disability Accommodation Services, and you are keen to do good work, such as quality of life care, interaction, developmental and social activities (Active Support), as promoted within your ACRACS or Certificate 4, with the residents of DHS group homes, discourage anyone, especially parents/families, from saying you are good.
This government department officially considers all its staff are equal. They don’t, therefore, like tall poppies. So you will be cut down in one way or another.
Families also, get reprimanded for daring to praise good staff
Saturday, July 16 2011
A senior manager of Department of Human Services, Disability Accommodation Services (Victoria) said, “I want to be able to sleep at night!” So this manager moved out of DAS!
The manager was unable to sleep well at night, due to the stress of being in a catch-22, and wishing to do meaningful management
The catch-22 was, the manager unable to man-manage traditional public service staff lore. And was, therefore, unable to ensure residents in DHS group homes received quality of life care within departmental care policies standards and values.
Managers and supervisors within DAS and the traditional public service world of secure appearance employment have little choice, to keep their peace of mind, but take the pay and look the other way, or move out of this disaster situation where staff lore is king.
Saturday, July 09 2011
The iceberg does not exist according to the Department of Human Services.
Disability Services (DHS) Victoria!
The Office of the Disability Services Commissioner, in Victoria, is an independent statutory body - a pseudo government department - a ‘so called’ independent complaints body for people with a disability and their families.
The Disability Service Commissioner (DSC) says, “A positive complaints culture is one in which people feel comfortable to provide feedback, positive or negative, about the disability supports they receive. This not only empowers the people you support but can also assist in improving the overall quality of the services you provide”.
In contrast, the DSC considers the number of complaints received is just the tip of the iceberg, and the most common factor limiting complaints is fear of intimidation. This is not surprising, given the DHS is in total denial they have any service level or quality problems. They argue this to the extreme, with anyone making a complaint. And the complainant is made to feel guilty/punished/intimidated for daring to question their services.
The DSC is restricted to only being able to accept complaints in relation to ‘individual or personal issues’. They are unable to accept complaints in relation to ‘systemic issues’
As it is the systemic issues which generate the individual issues, the individual issues are “fixed today and back tomorrow” in the revolving door of public service, captive market, safe employment, staff lore - in contrast to management law (departmental care policies, standards and values).
It is the inability of DHS management to properly man-manage staff lore, which allows the generation, festering and re-festering of individual service level and quality issues.
With the DSC unable to consider complaints regarding the failure of DHS management to properly man-manage staff lore, individual issues go around and around in the issue avoidance revolving door.
Thursday, July 07 2011
It's over two years since people made submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Supported Accommodation in Victoria.
It’s 12 months since the Victorian Government responded to the Inquiries into the Provision of Supported Accommodation for Victorians with a Disability or Mental Illness
What improvements/changes has the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, made to the services for people with an intellectual or multiple disability as a result of this Inquiry?
Terms of Reference
The Committee tabled its report
for the Inquiry into Supported Accommodation for Victorians with a Disability and/or Mental Illness out of session on 12 January 2010.
The Government Response
to the report was tabled out of session on 12 July 2010.
Saturday, July 02 2011
That which a great many people with limited intellectual capacity are unable to do, but what the general population takes for granted.
Those missing out on that considered standard by the general population, need real quality of life care to help compensate.
- Meaningful relationships
- Marriage and a family, or similar
- An extensive number of friends
- Regular school/university
- Regular employment
- Driving a vehicle
- Air travel
- Train Travel
- Meaningful holidays, including overseas holidays
- Using a computer
- Using a telephone
- Write a letter
- Meaningful cinema/theatre visits
- Playing sport
- Riding a bike
- Reading a book
- Communicating thoughts and emotions
- A home/house of their own
- Having real fun at a party
Please offer additions to the list……
Saturday, July 02 2011
Dr Rhonda Gallbaly said, "What does it mean to be an Australian with a disability? What is life like in the lucky country, in this land of the fair go? One answer we might expect would be, A citizen with the same rights as everyone else!
But if you have a physical, sensory, psychiatric, or intellectual disability, what is life really like? Many Australians would say, It's better, isn't it? The bad old days are gone - Aren't they?
The horror and abuse that went on in institutions, that's all gone now, hasn't it. The poverty, the discrimination, the exclusion, the fear and hatred, that's all ancient history, isn't it?
I would love to be able to say yes, that is all ancient history, but I can't. I'm here to tell you that despite this nation enjoying the longest economic boom in its history, very little has changed for most Australians with a disability.”
Much of this culture was developed in the old institutions, where residents were considered less than human. Much of the culture of few reasonable rights is still cultivated in many “staff workplace group homes”. Especially government direct services, where customers and customer service are foreign words.
In total contrast, is the customer service of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Hospital in Melbourne.
The total staff of this hospital, from the front desk to the hi-tech, is wall to wall customer service. Without exception, not one staff member is other than delightful to all patients.
This hospital management has clearly set a very high standard on staff, to ensure all patients experience the utmost respect and friendliness to offset their personal trauma.
Wouldn’t it be absolutely delightful if disability service staff, especially government direct care management and staff, were actively expected to provide similar high customer service standards for those with a disability and their families.
“We are dreaming, again!”