This is a multi-part article about asking for, and getting, – needed assistance. To recap Parts I and II, asking for help is a function of:
- Realizing in the first place that help is needed.
- Acknowledging to someone else that having help for XYZ has become a necessity.
- Going to an appropriate place where help is available.
- Putting the helping team together. Everyone involved with the daily or weekly routine of the person with the disability has to know what’s going on with everyone else, as it relates to the person being helped. All this has effective communication at its core.
Once the team is assembled and is working together effectively, the most difficult part of asking for help is in the rearview mirror. Now comes the very real next stage, that of keeping everything going. This stage has several components:
How to maintain an atmosphere of helping
The basics of communication were covered in some detail in Part II, but the importance of keeping good communication going cannot be emphasized enough. Log entries and progress notes only go so far. The “rest of the story” becomes known when team members talk and listen to each other. Meeting outside of the regular work environment, even if it’s just at a coffee shop for a few minutes, gives team members chances to – among other things – vent, brainstorm, problem-solve, and also to socialize in a small but significant way with their teammates. On some occasions, it’s even a good idea to do some kind of teambuilding activity completely separate from work. Bosses, HR, and other team members are good resources for details.
Every team member brings a specialty or unique ability to the team. Each member is personally responsible for keeping their skills sharp and up to date. Again, bosses, HR, and other team members are good resources for details when it comes to continuing education and recertification.
The most important member of the team is (drum roll, please) the person with the disability. This individual is the reason the team exists in the first place. It is vitally important that ANY of this person’s questions, comments, or concerns be immediately and respectfully acknowledged. If the team needs to come up with a solution to a problem or resolution of an issue, it’s always best to involve all relevant team members at the same time.
Changing Team Members
Given the changing nature of the direct-care profession, it is almost inevitable that some team members will leave (hopefully, not all at the same time) and others will take their places. In an ideal situation, the new team member would be able to shadow the departing team member to learn how a particular task is done. If this is not possible, the level of communication has to be increased until the “new guy” has the job down.
RISE is an agency that has remarkable success with programs to help both people with disabilities and those who help them. Teambuilding and offering help in keeping the team together and focused on its primary goal is something RISE does extremely well. To start the process, reach out to RISE at www.riseservicesinc.org and fill out a contact form. The right person will call back and start the process right then.