This is Hailey’s first position as a Support Worker. Hailey has had her induction pack discussed with her, demonstrating she understood the information contained within and she has signed all the onboarding documentation. Hailey has just been provided with the information for her first participant James.
Hailey arrives at the workplace for James, who she is assisting with transportation from his workplace to home and they are going to complete some shopping on the way. James is vision impaired and requires assistance with all access in the community. Hailey and James have not met before today. James has been supported in the community for 22 years and is now accustomed to random people collecting him. He just really likes that when there needs to be a change, Flair and Fine Care tell him beforehand. James was expecting a new person.
On arrival Hailey is shown into an open space to wait for James. Hailey receives a phone call, and she answers. Hailey does not notice that James has entered the room and is waiting for her. James can hear Hailey’s conversation and he is not pleased by what he hears her say. Hailey was making detailed plans on what she will do following her shift. James heard Hailey comment disparagingly regarding his physical needs. This upset James. James was now avoidant about leaving with Hailey and refused. This was a first. James gets along with everyone, and Hailey could not understand why he was so reluctant and appeared to be hostile towards her. What has happened in this first 30 seconds to make James feel so uncomfortable? What should be done differently?
First impressions are so important
Hailey has arrived for her shift. Hailey is on time for a 4.30pm start. Sam the receptionist asks Hailey to wait in an area off to the left. She has a few minutes to wait. Hailey’s phone rings and she answers. It is her friend, and they make plans for the evening. Hailey says, “yeah I’m doing a four-hour shift and he can’t see so I have to do everything for him.” The other person speaks and then Hailey responds “Nah, all good, we can sort that out when I get there” silence and then “I’ll be there on time, I’m out at 8pm.”
If you are thinking about something that doesn’t feel right 3 minutes later– James is still unable to speak. The people at James’ workplace can see how he has yet to leave with his worker and step in to help. James is still unable to discuss the situation due to his emotional dysregulation from what he overheard. Hailey is unaware of the impact of her phone call, and she is using all her skills to negotiate with James, and she continues attempting to convince him to leave with her. Finally, Sam requests Hailey stop speaking, to allow James the space to emotionally regulate himself so that he will be able to tell us what has happened to him. James was able to coregulate his emotions with Sam and then became able to tell both Sam and Hailey what he had overheard. Hailey was immediately aware of her behaviour and the harm it had caused to their working relationship for them– although off the clock we need to be mindful of what we are saying, how we are talking, and the content of the discussion should never be about our clients with anyone outside of the workplace.
Workplace hours are always negotiated before the shift. Hailey should never have accepted a shift knowing she would need to leave 30 mins early. James was able to address this directly and ensured the plan he had intended was able to be fulfilled.
James is unable to speak and communicate. James is not able to speak because when he is confronted with a change of plans – any plans- James is unable to emotionally regulate himself, which he needs to do before he communicates in any way. Finally, James submits to leaving with Hailey. He is unable to communicate. Walking is a problem and there is no rapport. Safety and trust for James with this worker are broken before the opportunity to commence, as James continues to know the worker is keen to leave. James also lives with Rejection Dysphoria and feels the pain when workers try and cut his shifts short. James works as an accountant. James is a numbers man. In his 24-hour day, he carefully structures his support needs for the times he has support, and 30 mins is a HUGE deal for James.
Alternatively, James takes no action about Hailey leaving 30 minutes early and continues to ruminate
3 hours later– If something from work is on your mind three hours after your shift has ended, discuss it with your Shift supervisor Huma @ Flair and Fine
James calls Huma and discusses his concerns. Huma has worked with James for many years. James does not call often and when he does, he is always to the point. James tells Huma about overhearing the phone call and how this had caused him distress. Huma clarified with James that what occurred should never happen and took immediate steps to remove Hailey from his schedule. Although the shift had already finished, Huma reassured James that he can call her anytime and that he does not feel ok.
Huma is now aware that Hailey will require further training before she is allocated more participants.