Creative Support enjoys a growing national reputation as a specialist independent provider of mental health services, with a track record in supported living, rehabilitation and home care. Established in 1991. It is specialist independent provider of mental health services in supported living, rehabilitation and home care throughout the Manchester region. Specific service responses are provided to meet particular needs including Asian people and for homeless people. A key theme within Creative Support’s work is partnership, equal opportunities, and anti-discriminatory practices in developing local services to meet the needs of local communities (Corporate Policy: AP5).

As a specialist mental health organization, community services aims to create a good quality of life at a maximum desired level of independence with the assistance of Flexible and individualised packages of support. In order to achieve this goal staff work closely with Housing Associations, Social Services, Community Mental Health Teams and many other agencies in order to provide a comprehensive service tailored to meet each individuals needs.

A key theme within our work is partnership. We have forged effective alliances with a wide range of partner agencies and purchasers, who share our passion for developing high quality services for people with mental health problems.

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ASSESSMENT

During my work placement at Creative Support I was given the opportunity to carry out a support plan and risk assessment. Luckily I was given the chance to undertake an ‘Assessment, Support Planning & Risk Assessment’ course prior to my task. I demonstrated sound merit and was certified an award on completion by creative support. Although I did the relevant training I took Thompson’s (1998) advice and sought further guidance knowing that professionalism demanded me to ask when in doubt. I went through a preview of the Support Plan and Risk Assessment with Chris Jones, the temporary Unit Business Manager. She highlighted what questions to ask, how to interpret verbal and non-verbal language and how I could conduct the task.

The Support Plan I devised was for Mr. P a young Asian Muslim male who was suffering from depression, anxiety and borderline schizophrenia. Before I began engaging with him made arrangements for a separate room to ensure confidentiality and prudery. This was also contributory to give her thinking space and make him feel psychologically relaxed. I made sure he understood the procedures. I adopted an empowering and anti-discriminatory attitude. by avoided dictating a Support Plan that would instruct Mr. P how we would be working every day. Rather I allowed him to use his initiative and encouraged him to participate in the Support Plan and make decisions.

I took extra care to consult, negotiate and seek his opinion throughout the task. Due to religious values and believes I was able to realise and identify the importance of seeing Mr. P as an individual before the disability. Such an approach reflects clear evidence of anti-discriminatory practice. I also needed to avoid making assumptions and being judgemental about P’s values on the basis that we were both Asian and Muslim. This would have led me to possible behave in a empowering manner.

We began by breaking down the assessment into small tasks. First and foremost we recognised and defined Mr. P’s needs, strengths and weaknesses. Then I assisted him choose and decide on how to meet those needs. Whilst devising the support plan I was advantaged by the fact that I had a good awareness in Mr. P’s cultural and religious aspects. He himself mentioned how much he appreciated having someone who ‘understands’ his position. I feel I demonstrated a sound level of enabling towards Mr. P by teaching him to see his own strengths and weaknesses.

The meeting of cultural needs has been recognised by the government in the NHS ; CC Act 1990, therefore I demonstrated capability to work effectively in the organisation as well as abiding by statutory and legal requirements. This competence was also reflected in my interpretation and then documenting Mr. P’s words in the Support Plan knowing that what I write is a legal source of evidence and possibly my most effective form of protection in terms of legal proceedings.

After Mr. P decided his needs and problems, we worked towards implementing them, thus we secured issues around finance, time and other resources. Then by way of monitoring the Support Plan we made adjustments where needed. Finally we reviewed our work by seeing how the support and service could be improved. This work demonstrates how I worked in an organisation to provide services and how I evaluated and worked towards an efficient maintenance of that service.

Whilst communicating with Mr. P I adopted a formal mode of speech. Evidently there was a need for me to ask questions, but I had to construct the conversation in such a manner that I avoided aggressive and intrusive question. Hence successful communication reflected in Mr. P’s sharing of thoughts feelings and future plans. Throughout the task I felt I was competent in using generic, interpersonal skills, which we appropriate for interventions with people who have mental health problems. Skills such as open and closed questioning, clarifying, listening, empathising, reflecting, sustaining, restating, controlling, summarising and non-verbal communication all were taken into consideration. I have also learnt that working in partnership with service users during the process of assessment and enabling them to have the right to make choices that affect their lives is very important. This meant working alongside the service user to gather and analyse information, plan for strategies of intervention and evaluate effectiveness, particularly from the service users point of view.

LIASING WITH ORGANISATIONS

I effectively contributed to service provision by liasing with social services and other organisations. When visiting Mr A on a home assessment, I noticed there was no microwave. I analysed and identified the need factor along with others and liased with Social Services to enable facilitation. I maintained a professional, congruent and empowering approach throughout the process. I would provide the client with advice and information regarding their choice and rights and work in participation with the client and agency to offer a comfortable and valued environment in the home.

I would provide the client with information and support to independently liase with other agencies. I gave the client a feeling of trust and confidence to support and build on their strengths. I assisted Mr P in contacting and liasing concerning their needs such as service provision from the housing association and effectively communicating and inquiring relating to gas, water and electricity bills.

I also creatively merged diverse skills such as unconditional positive regard, empathy, verbal and non-verbal skills with tri-lingual communication and my in-depth knowledge and understanding of eastern cultures to form a successful therapeutic relationship with a client who used to present challenging behaviour in concern to communication and engaging. I believe that my successful usage of liasing, counselling, and advocatory and other skills contributed to forming an integral link between service provision and an improved quality of life.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

I used social activities as another important contribution towards achieving the objectives outlined in the Service User’s personal Support Plan. Recognising each client’s individual preferences and developmental needs, I chose diverse activities. I felt working with the clients in a surrounding that they were comfortable in, allowed us to help break down client and staff barriers. The selected socialising opportunities were presented in diverse forms e.g. sports, shopping, visiting the library, Zion centre, etc. I found the activities very useful as they enabled me to observe the client in a natural lay out. Facilitating such activities provided me with valuable learning opportunities such as liasing with other individuals, carers and voluntary groups along with a chance to compare my competences with my values for example: I was intervening and providing services in other activities such as assistance in paying bills, G.P, video shop, chemist, looking for voluntary employment or going into education.

Before arranging any activities with clients I always planned. Client needs, requirements and safety were factors I considered most important. I also made sure the appropriate length of activity was selected. Details of intended destination, timetable and a contact were all left with senior staff. Authorisation from the team leader was also sought before arranging activities. Whilst addressing clients I was respectful and avoided nicknames or diminutives. I also took care at the early stage of the relationship to establish how he prefers to be addressed. I tried to memorise client names quickly and accurately which I felt assisted me establish rapport and enabled the clients to be acknowledges as individuals.

Although activities were conducted in a relaxing and formal manner I had to remember that I had a duty of care for the clients and represent the agency. Therefore I made sure professionalism was maintained at all times in aspects such as behaviour. On return relevant detail was recorded and evaluated in the clients case-file. To ensure service delivery I informed clients that they should feel free to contact my senior to express any concerns or complaints. I feel these activities helped break down client/staff barriers, offered opportunities for clients to socialise, provided stimulation, challenges and new experiences, helped build trust between the clients and myself and created the condition for informal counselling.

EVALUATION

In my practice placement I have completed all the required CCETSW competencies:

Communicate and Engage

I feel I used effective communication skills whilst on my placement on a daily basis. Whilst working in participation with clients and organisations. I was developing working relationships while seeking risk and need minimising factors and undertaking holistic assessments.

Promote and Enable

I completed this competence by providing clients and families with information regarding any occurring procedures and I would assure that any form of service provision is full, clear and non-oppressive. I was actively assisting clients during learning opportunities to enable them to participate e.g. I assisted Mr P prior to and during registering for a Learn Direct course in order to enable him to build on his strengths and talents and support him to function and participate in society. I believe by supporting him towards undertaking education, I was also promoting his personal rights of independence, dignity and self-respect.

Assess and Review

During my work at Creative Support I was undertaking risk assessments, managing my own caseload, support working, etc in which I was faced with a considerable amount of assessing and identifying risk and need factors. As my work was underpinning a task centred approach I was constantly using effective assessment and analysis methods to identify strengths and fix goals. I would re-assess the condition upon achieving each goal. Reflection and repetitive reviewing played a major role in monitoring assessment efficiency.

Intervene and Provide Services

I believe I had the opportunity to provide direct care, support and control whilst support working and handling a caseload. I assured confidence and supported clients advising using enabling skills such as congruence and genuineness. During intervention I formed a therapeutic working relationship by building trust and showing unconditional positive regard.

Contribute to the work of the organisation

I contributed by providing direct care services, risk assessing, preparing Support Plans and working under legal requirement as a member of staff representing Creative Support. I held informal discussions in participation with clients to monitor service efficiency, effectiveness and economy of services. I am equally able to work on my own as in a team. I believe it is due to my quality performance, responsible nature and competent capability to adapt to different dilemmas that Creative Support offered me a job vacancy beginning immediately after my practice placement.

Develop professional competence

I was using my sound initiative, reflective responses to obstacles, effective supervision use and other qualities to heighten my professional competences. I became accustomed to continuous self-reflection and evaluation of development opportunities by identifying values and relevant modus operandi in supervision with my supervisor, whose advice I respected and utilised. I believe the learning opportunities I found at Creative Support contributed greatly to my confidence in handling professional dilemmas and balancing between rights and responsibilities. I felt the chance to professionally and formally handle my own caseload empowered me as an individual to develop and critically evaluate my values, practice and knowledge.

Finally, The practice placement at Creative Support has allowed me to devise packages of care, cooperating with individuals, carers and liaising with professionals and organisations. It has enabled me to undertake holistic assessments and work with clients in partnership. I have supported the rights of clients using anti-oppressive practice realising the need to balance power. Through adopting these approaches and incorporating the values in my practice I have learned to appreciate difference and uniqueness and practice empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard.

I feel I have heightened in professional practice by reflecting on my values and exploring how they could conflict the values of the clients and others I work with. I used reflective techniques like listing my values and priorities, which shape my personality, and comparing them with social work values. Along with proving and improving my competency I prioritised that I revolved my competences around the value base.

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