“Supporting Positive Behaviour – A Workbook for Social Care Workers” and “Supporting Relationships and Friendships – A Workbook for Social Care Workers”

Gill Pringle (Family Liaison Worker)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

ISSN: 1471-7794

Article publication date: 16 September 2011

185

Citation

Pringle, G. (2011), "“Supporting Positive Behaviour – A Workbook for Social Care Workers” and “Supporting Relationships and Friendships – A Workbook for Social Care Workers”", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 191-192. https://doi.org/10.1108/qaoa.2011.12.3.191.3

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Both these workbooks relate directly to the Common Induction Standards, which apply to all workers in the social care sector. They are designed to be worked through by the social care worker, hopefully with support and guidance from his/her line manager. The book can be used as a simple read through, or there are exercises to complete and a self‐assessment tool at the end to help the individual assess how the workbook has supported their professional self and contributed to their professional development. There are regular references to care standards, and relevant aspects of legislation.

Suzan Collins has a readable and clear style of writing, and constantly encourages the reader to reflect on his/her current practice in the work place, and to consider individual service users known to him/her, when considering the points made. I particularly like her emphasis on the service user as an individual with the same needs and aspirations as anyone else. In “Supporting Relationships and Friendships”, Suzan Collins defines “friendship”, and then encourages the social care worker to consider how a friendship can be supported and developed when a person is reliant on others for many aspects of their care. The reader is introduced to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and to consider how these are met for the service users they are assigned to. There are practical suggestions on how to support service users in developing and sustaining friendships and relationships. She writes sensitively about how support can be offered to service users who wish to embark on a physical/sexual relationship, and provides thought‐provoking comments that will ensure that the social care worker respects the service user as an individual.

In “Supporting Positive Behaviour”, Suzan Collins defines behaviour and provides a meaningful and workable definition of “challenging behaviour”. The worker is encouraged to see behaviour as primarily a form of communication, so that the “challenge” is more to understand what the service user is trying to communicate with the behaviour, rather than to “control” what may otherwise be labelled as “bad” behaviour. There are clear examples of this in the workbook, and good advice on assessing risk, and managing situations that may be stressful for the service user. Once again, Collins strongly promotes the concept of the service user as a person with needs, whose difficulties with communication may result in him/her presenting or resorting to behaviours that can stretch and confuse those around him/her, and provides useful advice about risk assessment, the duties of the employer/manager, and the relevant legislation.

There are two main strengths in these workbooks:

  1. 1.

    They are written clearly and concisely, and regularly provide easily understandable examples to aid the worker.

  2. 2.

    The service user is firmly placed centre stage, and the worker is constantly encouraged to consider her/his wants and needs, and discouraged from stereotyping him/her as a “client” or “case”.

I have one anxiety about training social care workers in such a way. Suzan Collins has clearly written the workbooks as a support mechanism for a whole raft of training techniques, and she regularly highlights the importance of discussing and exploring issues and concerns with a manager. However, in the present climate of financial stringency and swingeing cuts, training could be considered as “sorted” by making social care workers read such workbooks. Despite the many positives in the two workbooks reviewed here, they have not been written to take care of all of a care worker's training needs.

In conclusion, the two workbooks are well written, the exercises are clear and encourage good worker reflection, and any care worker completing the exercises therein will definitely benefit, but there must be meaningful discussion and interaction with senior staff and other care workers, to encourage further reflection and learning about such complex issues.

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