The following experiences are very common throughout the Department of Human Service, Disability Services (Victoria).
They are as a direct result of the failure of all levels of department management to properly, consistently and proactively manage the business of ensuring the level and quality of care and support is consistently within the direction, intention and spirit of departmental care policies, standards and values.
When I first started working for DHS, Disability Services, group homes, I would go home crying, and thought I may not be able to do this job.
After five years, I still feel the same. And, constantly think about those who live in these places, and are left day after day to stare at four walls, with little or no engagement or interaction.
Most staff actually believe that as long as we provide food and shelter, that's enough. How can that be enough for people who are so disadvantaged in having so little in their lives?
I an repeatedly told ,I have to leave my work, at work. And be professional. How can one do that when one works with people, not material objects.
I was thinking about becoming a Community Visitor, as I am always happy to see them.
What makes me angry, is staff pretend to community visitors that everything is perfect, and the residents receive high level of care. So untrue!
Then you have people who say, “You can't change the system, just learn to live with it. If you can’t do that, leave!”
I do casual work now, as I am sick of house politics – staff more concerned with bickering and back-biting, than caring for the residents.... I was on contract few times, but still found the general staff negative attitude towards the residents so depressing.
In the Cert4 classes, they say you will be able to do all these lovely things. But but this is rarely so in reality, at the group homes.
Everything is about intimidation, bullying and unions. The big one is the OH&S issues. It’s all about staff rights and choices, not the residents. Such negative attitudes!
After working with scope in the early 90's I was talked into crossing over to DHS EMR.
I thought that such a big organisation must be at the forefront of disability reform.
Whereas, I discovered the culture to be toxic and lacking in those areas of equality that I was so used to at Scope.
My time with the DHS, Disability Services, was a constant battle with a culture of falsehood and embedded ongoing conflicts of interest that lead me into a world of cover your butt at all times.
This never sat well with me, so I was constantly isolated.
I witnessed the most degrading withdrawals of human rights and accepted levels of abuse. I was repeatedly being transferred to other houses, because I was reporting this.
The cover ups were always under the control of area managers and their underlings.
I moved to DHS NWMR, thinking it couldn't get any worse. Wrong! The total acceptance of the degrading, abusive and inappropriate treatment of residents is terrifying at first - then just plain unacceptable!
So I resigned from the DHS, and moved back to the non-government sector.
LISA Comment: Most care level and quality within DHS direct care services is by staff lore, not management 'law' (control & direction). Staff integrity fluctuates without good and consistent management direction.