There are many ways to reduce the likelihood of abuse within an organisation.
Person-centred values is an approach to care work that all care staff should be encouraged to follow. It involves treating a client as an individual and including them in any decisions that need to be made regarding their care and support. A client’s person-centred values can be described as individuality, independence, privacy, partnership, choice, dignity, rights and respect. Not only do these values teach staff best working practices but also helps vulnerable people have a say in the support they receive and help them to feel empowered. This results in a staff team that has the mindset to support client’s best interests, reducing the likelihood of abuse. In addition, risk of a abuse is lowered when individual’s have active participation in their care provision because they are more likely to understand their rights and know when something might not be quite right. They will also be more likely to speak up if they have concerns. This goes hand-in-hand with promoting an individual’s rights and choices. Client’s should be free to make their own life choices and take calculated risks as long as it is unlikely to harm themselves or others or is illegal.
Personally, I treat everyone with the same level of respect that I would expect to receive myself, so person-centred values come naturally to me. I encourage all clients to take an active role in planning their activities and inform them of their rights in a manner that they understand when applicable. I also try to allow them the freedom and independence to be in control of their own lives, only stepping in to provide guidance if I feel that their actions may be detrimental to themselves or others.
Another way to reduce the likelihood of abuse is to have an accessible complaints procedure in place. This gives an individual a voice and a course of action should they feel they are being treated inappropriately.
All my clients are aware of the complaints procedure we have in place and know that they can have assistance in filling it out if they need to. Sometimes this results in false complaints such as when a client put in a complaint about a member of staff because he didn’t have enough money to buy a phone charger and failed to understand that it was not the member of staff’s fault but the fact that he had already spent all his money on something else but it is important that the system remains in place to catch any legitimate complaints. Our complaints procedure was used to great effect when a member of staff was permanently moved without warning to another service, resulting in the clients becoming upset because they had a great working relationship with said member of staff. The clients asked me what they could do about it and I informed them that although head office could put staff in whichever service they deemed fit, the client’s opinions could be passed on via a complaints form. I helped the clients to fill in their complaints (ensuring only what they said was documented and with another member of staff present to act as witness) and passed them on to head office. The client’s views were read by senior management and they made a u-turn on their decision.