A New Meaning for 'Business As Usual'
Over the past couple of months, our "normal" lives, routines and structures have all been overthrown, and, as a result, the way in which we deliver our service has changed.
We are all working innovatively to continue to support service users working on their goals, keep a structure, remain motivated and keep well by staying connected while still keeping a safe distance; this is our main priority at this time.
As a Community Support Worker, my role has experienced a stark difference; previously I relied so heavily on the services that our beautiful community in Bray provided, now accessing these is not an option. I have adopted alternative approaches by tapping into my creative side to continue to support our service users during this daunting and challenging time.
I am still working continuously to help those I support achieve their goals but in a different way than what we were used to. I am now teaching Irish Sign Language through video calls, offering college support over the phone and through email and completing job support and interview prep over the phone. I am trialing different ways every day to stay connected with those I support. My work now heavily aims to meet and provide support for positive mental health and the overall well-being of the service users as they navigate through these new changes.
As we come to the start of a new quarter in our service planning, we have our completed new timetables with service users using modern technology, so that upon their return to the service will be ready to resume structure and a familiar routine in a smooth manner. The support for each service user has been extremely individualised and tailored for their needs and abilities; for those service users who rely heavily on structure, we have created timetables for them to follow at home. We also delivered some service users ‘goody bags’ containing craft materials, learning materials and ‘mindgym’ puzzles they have been working on, giving them the opportunity to also work from home. This allows the continuation of some structure and routine also. Both service users and families have been very appreciative of these added supports, which make such a difference in the lives of the people we support.
We have downloaded various different forms of technology to help stay in touch; ‘Kahoot’ is excellent, it provides a means for us all to take part in an online quiz from our own homes.
I am used to seeing many different faces in work every day, and I miss that direct face to face contact. This has required a lot of adjustment on my behalf, but my colleagues have been an excellent support to me and each other. We speak regularly on the phone, and we continue to provide ‘business as usual’ under its now new meaning. We have completed supervision sessions over the phone, we have forward planned for upcoming fundraisers we will be holding together, and we have shared resources and materials with each other that are beneficial to our key clients. Many of the staff are also completing online courses to enhance our professional development within our roles, creating a well of resources that we can all share with each other and which will benefit our service users when get back to our centre.
Overall, we are all working hard to stay connected and are remaining focused and positive on supporting our service users, colleagues and local residential services during this challenging time.
Aoife O’Sullivan, Phoenix Service, RehabCare, Bray