Social Work Stories

SHARE YOUR SOCIAL WORK STORIES

Share your experiences

Stories from you about your teams, colleagues and work can help inspire other social and care workers of all kinds and bring some light to difficult days.

 

We want to create a hub for your voices.

 

We don’t mind what you want to share, it could be something which made you smile, laugh or cry. It could be about your colleagues, the people you support or how you’re feeling about your work and how it is evolving.

 

We know you will be stretched and digging deep to keep offering your communities support and hope in such challenging circumstances. Tell us about it, if you can.

 

It could be long or short. Even if you’ve already posted something somewhere we are happy to link, like and share on Twitter @socialworkaward

 

Email Us

Email us at stories@socialworkawards.com with your name, job title, social care number (just so we know you are a social care worker, we will keep it private) and phone number, so we can get in touch if we need more information.

 

Tell us if you are happy for us to use your name and what kind of social work you do, but if you want to keep that private, that’s fine too.

  • Have changes to the way you work brought unexpected outcomes to your practice as an individual or in teams?

 

  • Are you seeing changes in the needs of the people you work with? How have you responded to this?

 

  • How would you describe what you do as a social worker? What would you tell someone about the impact social workers can have on people, day-in day-out?

 

  • What one thing would you tell another social worker about you recent experiences?

 

  • Can you share a photo?

 

Read the Latest

Going the extra mile (or 100) during coronavirus: part one

October 11, 2020 | Written by The Social Care Reablement Team, Devon County Council

This is a guest blog from The Social Care Reablement Team at Devon County Council. 

The Social Care Reablement Team (SCR) provide a short-term service, usually up to three weeks, to adults who need support to remain independently living in their own home. The majority of referrals come directly from hospitals when patients are ready to be discharged home.

The team has shared with us how their work has changed during the pandemic and how they are going the extra mile for their clients.


Alice’s story:

“I was the first to visit a client on her discharge from hospital at the beginning of lockdown. She was feeling scared at the prospect of not being able to see her family and was worried about being isolated. Her fridge was full of rotting food. I cleared it all out for her, went and bought her a few items and arranged a food delivery service.

Sensing she was going to struggle I chatted about what she liked to watch on TV. She mentioned a programme she had enjoyed but hadn’t seen it all, remembering it was called ‘The Crown’. I did some research and realised it was on Netflix. With her consent I organised for her to have Netflix installed and when I visited her again, I found her thrilled to have discovered there were 4 seasons of it and she was happily binge watching it! She made great progress with us.”

 

Sami’s story: 

“A client I was visiting was finding isolation very hard and was feeling scared with all the news on TV about COVID-19. She needed the security of her family and they arranged for her to move up country to stay with them. She was worried about stopping at the motorway services and being at risk of picking up the virus and thought it best to take some snacks and drinks for the journey. She didn’t have much in the house to pack up and so, on moving day, I bought her some snacks and a reusable water bottle with a straw as her leaving gift from me. It was warmly received and hopefully made her a little less anxious about the journey.”

 

Julie’s story:

“I was visiting a gentleman who was struggling with his health. He was 99 years old and coming up to his 100th birthday at the end of June. I wanted to make his birthday special as I knew I would be visiting him that morning.

His daughter had spoken to one of our team leaders and expressed that her dad had become very low in mood & feels like he’s ‘giving up’ but she had arranged a small surprise celebration at his home for his 100th birthday, which she hoped would boost him up again.

It certainly did! He received over 100 cards, including the one from me, and the balloons I bought him brought a huge smile to his face. He was visited by some friends and family – from a distance – and he even had a film crew there and made in onto the local news on TV!”

 

Eddy Broadhurst’s story (Occupational Therapist):

“During these unusual times, our ways of working have needed to be reconsidered and adjusted, especially joint working; in order to ensure guidelines are adhered to amidst working in a pandemic. I feel technology – particularly video chat platforms have allowed me to do this.

“I completed a joint virtual home visit to complete an Occupational Therapy assessment with a client. The client returned home from hospital and now needs to use a wheelchair at all times and was not able to access essential facilities around their home.

“With the virtual presence of OT and the physical support of a Reablement Team Leader we were able to obtain the client’s strengths and needs, observe the client around their home and gather essential measurements of the home and their wheelchair in order to inform the next steps. I established the client would benefit from major home adaptations of doorway widening and ramped access to ensure safe and independent access to essential facilities and the community. I was able to complete the necessary paperwork and sent it to the client via email. They were able to apply an electronic signature which I then sent to the relevant District Council to be processed as an urgent recommendation.”

 

Tell us your social work story at stories@socialworkawards.com telling us your name, job, contact details and social care number (just so we know you’re a social worker, we will keep it private).

Lockdown reflection: A day in the life with Sue Connell

September 20, 2020 | Written by Sue Connell


This is a guest blog by Sue Connell, Professional Practice Development Advisor at the London Borough of Wandsworth.


As an ASYE (Assessed and Supported Year of Employment) assessor, I work closely with Wandsworth’s Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs) as part of the Wandsworth Children Social Care Academy (WCSCA).

The ASYE programme replaces the regular probation period and so this is a really important time for our NQSWs. Thanks to the team, the ASYE processes are continuing. The processes include: virtual panel, ASYE update meetings, the full ASYE programme of reflective supervision, support, regular reviews, appraising reflective pieces and observations.

So, how do we manage this all from home? I’m not sure how I would have coped without my little computer, but I’ve been amazed with Microsoft teams and have used Skype (for business) too.

we’re dealing with layers of risk, loss, transition and the emotions that this brings

I’m pleased to say that our reflective supervisions –  where our NQSWs look at how theories apply to their work, resilience building and self-care skills, and anything else they would like to discuss – have been met with enthusiasm and I’ve been able to link in and continue to assess and support. Luckily, I have scanned the reflective resources that we use so we have a range of choices and levels of reflection. ​​​​​​​

With each meeting, I’ve come away with great ideas that NQSWs have brought to the table – they’re such fabulous team players. We’re developing virtual observations and have made a start on these. Reviews have been surprisingly easy and straight forward. I would add that the current situation brings an element of focus too: ‘getting straight to it’ as there’s so much screen time. ​​​​​​​

I am missing the impromptu visits and being able to ‘just ask’ a question.

One pattern that’s come up for the group is how busy they are, but in a different way. It’s a good reminder that we’re dealing with layers of risk, loss, transition and the emotions that this brings – I’m certainly finding that.

Florence and I facilitate Action Learning Sets, which is a sort of structured peer supervision. We will be arranging to facilitate these virtually to ensure this ongoing support at a time when it’s most needed. I am booked onto the webinar for my first bit of training on how best to adjust to the virtual style – such a learning curve!

Of course, there are challenges; the ‘togetherness’ is harder to maintain and takes that bit of extra work. I am missing the impromptu visits and being able to ‘just ask’ a question. Also, coffee time in the office is a great opportunity for team building and I’m missing that. So, we must be creative and put in that extra effort to keep connected.

Today, I will be working on my next final report. It’s a privilege to capture (and analyse) all the hard work and learning that each of our NQSWs have completed and to see them ‘fly the nest’.

… well, a cup of tea always helps too.

We have three due for panel and more coming through soon. The couple of virtual meetings later will bring a nice balance to the day. What else? … well, a cup of tea always helps too.

Tell us your social work story at stories@socialworkawards.com telling us your name, job, contact details and social care number (just so we know you’re a social worker, we will keep it private).

If you can’t go home, we will bring home to you.

September 3, 2020 | Written by Wendy Ashton

This is a guest blog by Wendy Ashton, Palliative Care Social Worker and Family Support Team Lead at Eden Valley Hospice and winner of the Making a Difference Social Worker of the Year Award 2018.


As a palliative care social worker in a Hospice, Covid 19 has really challenged my ethics, morals and ways I practice – hopefully for the better in the long term.

I work in a small Hospice that covers a vast rural community as a full time Palliative Care Social Worker and Family Support Team Lead. I work with people at end of life who have complex needs and aim to make the time that people have left as happy and content as possible. A large part of my role involves working with families and friends as well as clients.

Technology for good

Often, a patient is too unwell to return home and chooses to die at the Hospice. A last wish is often to see home for one last time, and we can arrange this with a carer and transport for an hour at home. It is tricky to organise, but it is worth it when you see the joy on that patient’s face when they return after seeing home for the last time.

The High School Musical Song ‘We’re all in this together’ springs to mind frequently

Unfortunately, this was not an achievable goal with lockdown. However, I am not one to give up so, after speaking to the patient’s husband, we set up for him to video the house room by room – including the cats in it too.


The patient’s husband did this and, after a bit of IT help, we downloaded 2 short videos onto a laptop that we left in the patient’s room. She watched the clips with animation, showing staff her beautiful home that she was so proud of.

The cats (too feral to visit apparently – we had suggested) also made an appearance and the patient was ecstatic to see them. She watched those clips daily for a couple of weeks before she became too unwell to watch. A truly positive and happy outcome. If you can’t go home, we will bring home to you.

Supporting families

On another day, a patient was dying and was Covid positive. One family member was allowed to see her – with full PPE on – but others were upset they could not say goodbye too. I set up a WhatsApp call with the family so they could all say their goodbyes to her.

Although the patient was unresponsive, hearing is the last sense to go – we truly believe she died knowing that all her loved ones said goodbye before she died.

we have given lots of virtual hugs and hands on shoulders to comfort

We also had volunteers knitting hearts for the Hospice; the patient kept one and her family were sent matching ones that were bagged for the quarantine period prior to sending out.

Keeping connected

As a social worker I have used Facetime and WhatsApp to connect family and friends. We’ve had family/MDT meetings in the gardens sat 2 metres apart, and we have given lots of virtual hugs and hands on shoulders to comfort. It has been difficult at times trying to make a difference at end of life, but I feel we have been successful within our restrictions and limits.

I’ve had heart-breaking moments when I could not initiate change. A lady in her 50s was troubled constantly in her last week of life. When I asked what was wrong and could if I help, she told me that she was struggling to decide which 10 people could go to her funeral. How on earth can you answer that?  I could not do anything except listen – often that helps.

A good quality of life is so important even if it is only for a day or two. I love my job and hope that we can continue to work to achieve dreams and happiness at end of life with our clients and families. I know I will keep on trying.

I could not do anything except listen – often that helps

Social workers play such a valuable role at end of life for both clients and families and friends.

Tell us your social work story at stories@socialworkawards.com telling us your name, job, contact details and social care number (just so we know you’re a social worker, we will keep it private).

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