The Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, have been talking about this type of direct care work hours accountability monitoring in their group homes throughout Victoria for over three years. Yet, this has been, and still is a serious factor frequently and adversely affecting the care of vulnerable people – the residents of the said group homes.
The rorting of rostered work hours has been occurring since the DHS originally became involved in the provision of direct care services for the residents of group homes.
Many direct care staff believe that once all the domestic tasks are completed within a group home, there is no need for more than one staff member to remain in the house - so there is no need for them to stay to the end of their shift.
There is little general acceptance of, (a) at least a moral obligation to be at one’s workplace for those hours for which one is paid, (b) at least a moral obligation to be meaningfully productive for the hours for which one is paid and (c) those with limited capacity need quality of life care not just minder care.
Quality of life care is well defined in most departmental publications. The DHS Standards Evidence Guide as, “staff competency in relation to active engagement and capacity building strategies (pg. 27), the Residential Services Practice Manual, section 4.4 and, the Quality Framework 2007, section 4, valued status 6.1-3.
Most of the reason rorting of rostered hours has continued to fester, is the totally failure of all levels of management above house supervisor to properly man-manage direct care staff to ensure they are supported, encouraged and praised, or properly disciplined. If staff are ‘managed’ to be just ‘bums on seats’, they are most likely to be just that. Whereas if they are actively encouraged and well supported to be valued members of a care team, they are more likely to be so - with responsibility and job satisfaction.
Certainly, there is ample technology to monitor staff are at their workplace for their rostered hours, but little to monitor meaningful activity when they are there. Quality, meaningful and pro-active management can solve most problems within these factors (Quality Framework 2007, Handbook section 2.2.2 – Principle that underpin the quality framework are , ‘Human Rights’ and Quality Management’).
DHS Standards Evidence Guide LINK
Residential Services Practice Manual 2012 LINK