Friday, September 30 2011
“What are ‘House Politics’?”
Most group homes, especially DHS direct care, are a panacea of staff, manoeuvring, backbiting, lore, intimidation and peer pressure – generally referred to as “house politics”.
“How to stay out of ‘House Politics’!”
- Stay on the Casual Pool, or move to the Casual Pool.
- Become a Domain Manager.
“How to stay in ‘House Politics’!”
- Attempt to provide real quality of life care for the residents.
- Become a House Supervisor.
“What is a ‘House Supervisor’?”
- The meat in the political sandwich.
- The scapegoat for managers above, and staff below.
- The person told to ensure contented staff, at the cost of resident care.
“What is ‘Reactive Management’?”
- That which maintains the above factors from the very top of the management pyramid.
- That which only captive market organisations can afford.
- That which ensures and maintains covert operations.
Comment: I have seen a lot of the things you described such as intimidation, backbiting, back stabbing.. Even as a casual you go in with good intentions, you want to provide good quality of care for the residents but whatever you try to do for the residents you are ridiculed by the permanent staff, who always know better because they’ve done it for 20 years. Or when you walk into a new house you hear them giggling, see them rolling their eyes saying ‘oh it’s the casual’. No shame! There is a high level of unprofessionalism amongst direct care staff. Every so often you walk out of the the house feeling disheartened.
Saturday, September 17 2011
“Will the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) move parents/families from the ‘Boot to the Driver’s Seat’?” Only if the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) ensures state governments and service providers reduce their dominance on disability service provision. And, parents/families assert their ISP (Individualised Service Package) rights!
There are four basic stages of supported accommodation service (care) provision:-
- The present bulk funded group homes/hostels, where the residents and their families generally have to ride in the boot.
- ISP funded group homes, where the residents and their families just hand-over their ISP to the same service provider, to continue to have a similar service to the present bulk funded group homes.
- ISP funded group homes, where the residents and their families assert themselves to be in the driver’s seat (“Those who pay, call the tune”).
- ISP funded SDA (Self-Directed Approach), where the person with the disability and their family own and drive the car.
Many people with a disability, parents/families, may not wish to, or be able to use their NDIS ISP to SDA. They have, therefore, basically two choices – 2 or 3.
Canada was one of the first countries to move to ISPs. Many of the families, who suddenly found themselves with money in their pocket to directly purchase services, or now demand better of their existing service, did little more than give the money to their existing service provider to carry-on as usual.
NDS (National Disability Services) the peak body for most CSOs (Community Service Organisations) is helping its members to coherently transition the service system into the new service delivery environment. The key of their focus areas will be:-
- The people with a disability, their families and carers are at the centre of service delivery.
- Achieving a sustainable, integrated and equally regulated disability service system, in readiness for the NDIS.
- High-performing organisations achieving real outcomes for people with a disability.
Equally, people with a disability, their families, carers, guardians, advocates and friends need to understand the potential of NDIS ISPs giving them rights based services, in contrast to the present charity based hand-out services - That they be in the driver’s seat, not just handover the ISP to the service provider to do whatever they wish.
Much will depend on the real value of the person’s NDIS ISP, as its value will be directly proportional to the dollar value of each assessment level, times the number of levels.
A person living in a group home now, would rightly expect to receive an ISP equal to, or more than the present percentage of bulk funding the current service provider is receiving for that person.
In a government direct service provision group home, the support dollars for a person with high support needs and challenging behaviour is around $140,000.00pa.
Sunday, September 11 2011
The NSW Minister for Disability Services, the Hon. Andrew Constance MP, would be pleased to receive nominations for membership of the NSW Disability Council for a term of up to four years duration. The Minister seeks to appoint up to a maximum of 6 members to the NSW Disability Council.
The NSW Disability Council is the official adviser to the NSW Government on issues affecting people with a disability, their families and carers.
The Minister values the diversity of membership on the NSW Disability Council and strongly welcomes applications from people with a disability from diverse cultural backgrounds, from Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities and from regional, rural and remote NSW.
Appointment to the NSW Disability Council will be made on the basis that applicants can demonstrate that they meet at least two of the following criteria:
- Personal experience of disability, as a person with a disability or as a family member or carer of a person with a disability;
- Knowledge, skills and experience in policy development, delivering disability services, providing advice to government and/or driving change in disability or other social policy areas;
- Commitment to participation within networks that enable the development and dissemination of sound advice based on community contact;
- Expertise, knowledge or experience in relation to one or more of the following: Aboriginal people with a disability; People with a disability in regional, rural or remote communities; and People with a disability from CALD backgrounds.
The Council usually meets on a monthly basis in the Sydney office.
Members receive attendance fees and out of pocket expenses for approved participation in meetings and events in accordance with the remuneration guidelines of NSW Premier and Cabinet for NSW Board and Committee members.
Further information: For an information package on how to apply for membership, please contact
Adam Bannon, Project Officer, NSW Disability Council:
Level 19, 323 Castlereagh Street Sydney NSW 2000
Telephone: (02) 8217 2805
For additional information about the work of the NSW Disability Council contact
Melinda Savvides, Executive Officer, NSW Disability Council:
Telephone: (02) 8217 2809
Saturday, September 10 2011
- Both DHS and CSO managed services will be subject to independent monitoring.
- Independent quality monitoring will commence from July 2009 and will focus on outcomes, involve support users, their families and carers in the process.
- A quality system assists us to consistently implement the standards across the disability sector, continuously improve and achieve a culture of quality in our services, focus the delivery of our services on outcomes for people with a disability and strengthen safeguards for people with a disability.
- Providing high quality services is about meeting the needs, requirements and expectations of people with a disability, their family members and carers.
- Principle that underpin the quality framework is “Human Rights” and “Quality Management”.
- The principles provide the means to ensure there is a consistent approach to quality management practice across disability service provision in Victoria.
- People with a disability and their family members should have opportunities to have a say and be involved in decision making about the service.
- People with a disability and their family members and carers should be empowered to have a say in the services we provide. By listening to and acting upon the needs, concerns, ideas and suggestions of support users, we can use their knowledge, expertise and experience to make improvements to the quality of service delivery and outcomes for people with a disability.
- Benefits of effective consumer participation provide opportunities for improved, more positive, relationships between people with a disability, their family members and carers and service providers.
- Family members and carers must be involved in decision making an choices.
- The service provider must include family members, carers and personal networks in processes to monitor service quality, consumer satisfaction and outcomes.
- People with a disability are supported to extend hospitality to family and friends in their own homes.
- Our practice includes how we work with families.
- Managers should develop a culture of continuos improvement and spend more time and resources on planning rather than reacting to problems and crises.
- Does our quality system enable us to reflect on the way the service works and what results are being achieved.
QUOTATIONS FROM THE DHS PUBLICATION RESIDENTIAL SERVICE PRACTICE MANUAL
- The role of direct care support staff is to provide consistent and high quality support according to a range of policy and legislative requirements.
- Direct care support staff should assist people with a disability by doing things with them not so much for them, and in developing their skills.
- Direct care support staff need to understand and work according to departmental policies and standards.
- Direct care support staff should work cooperatively in a team.
- Objectives of the Disability Act 2006 makes disability service providers accountable to persons accessing disability services.
- Transition planning must cover a communications strategy for families of existing residents.
- People living in the service have limited opportunity to determine whom they live with.
- Written records must be legible, logical, sequential, signed and dated.
Tuesday, September 06 2011
The quality of life of people with an intellectual disability is directly proportional to their level of ability. Every avenue and opportunity having the potential to expand their quality of life should be considered.
All travel is an opportunity to expand their horizons, and should not be missed. They should therefore be considered the priority focus of all travel opportunities. Adherence to the following guidelines will help ensure those disadvantaged by intellectual disability enhance their quality of life through a positive travel experience.
- Ensure that everyone has a seat belt, harness, or wheel chair restraints firmly secured.
- Wherever possible, have suitable residents or students share the front seat next to the driver
- Wherever possible, all support staff except the driver should be in the back with the residents or students, for safety and to enhance communications.
- Ensure people sitting beside each other are as compatible as possible.
- Count the number of people before leaving, and each time they re-enter the vehicle, after the doors are closed, and before moving off.
- Ensure everyone is informed what is intended during the outing.
- Remember to include everyone in the discussions when travelling and stopped, even if there is a view that they don’t understand.
- Talk to everyone about their day.
The above steps will help to ensure that everyone achieves a positive and productive outcome from the outing
Monday, September 05 2011
“Residents and families know their place in our workplace!”
If caught infringing road rules, one faces an almost zero tolerance, non-negotiable penalty! Whereas, public service direct care staff breaking the Department of Human Services, Disability Services (Victoria), care policies, standards and values for the care of very vulnerable people (people with an intellectual or multiple disability) face little more than being moved to another group home, to potentially do the same again.
It is well known, some direct care staff have even openly bragged about their questionable treatment of the residents of department group homes, knowing their public service management are powerless to do more than, at best, and with difficulty, move them to another group home.
A former care worker who witnessed the torture of an intellectually disabled man says he did not come forward immediately, because he feared for his job and safety.
This former care worker, and another, witnessed a fellow Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Disability Accommodation Services worker assault a resident of a DHS group home.
The resident’s feet were burnt with cigarettes. He was forced to drink detergent, was hosed down with a cold water hose in the garden and was pushed hard against the garden fence. And that was only the reported incident!
The witness said he did not report the incident for about 18 months, because he did not believe the Department of Human Services would protect or support him.
This witness said he had been ostracised from his workplace after reporting an incident of abuse in a DHS group home, previously. "I was moved from the group home, threatened with my job and ostracised," he said.
"If you report something, you're seen as a trouble-maker", he said. Despite claiming to uphold the principles of the “Whistle-blowers Act”, this government department’s management (above house supervisor) will persecute and intimidate anyone who attempts to report questionable occurrences against the residents of their group homes.
Why is this, you may well ask? Well, 98% of problems in DHS group homes are caused by the direct care staff. The standard cry of most house supervisors is, “The residents are no problem, it’s the staff!” Quite naturally, therefore, management want to keep the staff confrontation to a minimum, so they can, “Take the pay, and look the other way!”
Therefore, it matters little what happens to the residents, so long as staff keep it quiet, and don’t dob-in each other. Incidents involving residents can easily be covered-up, so long as no one writes an incident report. Even so, most of these conveniently go missing, anyway!
Any direct care staff who feel the urge to raise or report the questionable activities of other staff - don’t. You will be treated as if you are the guilty person! Best to take the pay and look the other way, anonymously (by mail) tell LISA Inc. about it, and/or leave the DHS.
As it is very frustrating for the great many direct care staff who really want to provide real quality of life care, but are frustrated by those who want to do little more than basic minder care.
What Constitutes Lifestyle Quality? What Makes a Good Group Home? See Our Personal Care section on the Resources page
Saturday, September 03 2011
Most of the institutions, in Victoria, for people with an intellectual or multiple disability, were closed in the mid-1990s. Many of the residents went to live in six bedroom, DHS custom built, houses in the general community. One such house was built on a "corner-alcove" site, in a modern, narrow road, area.
The Department of Human Services failed to consider the "corner-alcove, precinct-style" area in which the house was built, left the house with no on-street parking what-so-ever. A small nature strip, and the gardens of other houses abutted the narrow driveway from the road. The only official parking, was a small area inside the property.
For years, staff, families and visitors manoeuvred their cars and the house bus, around this difficult area.
When a new resident arrived, the parents of this resident said, "The situation is ridiculous!” They observed there was enough nature strip to make in-dented parking bays. The local council agreed, and drew-up plans. A senior DHS manager, however, objected on the grounds that cars parked there, would set the house apart - would highlight it as a group home.
Finally, after more than five years of haggling, lobbying and a wet-weather quagmire, the council put in a simple hard-standing, large enough for 3 – 4 vehicles.
Staff no longer have to spend time manoeuvring vehicles, rather than what is intended – providing quality care for the residents.
"Crazy, mindless, captive market, power-game bureaucrats!"
Friday, September 02 2011
Good in theory, but a problem in practice for supervisors, as many staff claim they can't use a computer, so shift changes are often not made to the rostercoster.