23 January 2018
Risk Management and Service Delivery – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Suzanne Eustace
Interchange Australia employs over 100 staff, known as Support Workers, who provide care and support to our clients who may have disabilities, who may be older or who may need some short term assistance to recuperate following a hospital admission. Our Support Workers generally have, as a minimum, a relevant qualification in human services and at least 6 months experience in delivering direct care services to eligible people in the community and at our centres.
Providing assistance to people in their own homes can be challenging at times for the workers as they are entering people’s homes, and as such, have to respect their living arrangements. However as an employer, Interchange Australia also has an obligation to provide a safe working environment for staff.
There are a number of situations that Support Workers can potentially find themselves in that may present challenges. Some examples include:
o The Support Worker may notice the client is presenting as unwell whether mentally or physically or both
o There may be a lack of response from the client when the Support Worker arrives for a scheduled service
o The specified duties may be unable to completed with the time frame allocated
o The client may request tasks be completed outside of the specified tasks
o Poor access to the client’s home can result in it being unsuitable for staff to provide service
o The client’s home can present challenges for the support worker if it is very dirty or messy
o The equipment the support worker is expected to use may not be in good working order
o The equipment required to undertake a task may not be present
We take risk management at Interchange Australia very seriously to ensure staff and clients are safe at all times. If risks are identified and reported we investigate further and respond accordingly to prevent/minimise harm. Our response could include referring to relevant professional eg an Occupational Therapist for an assessment, it could include our consultants undertaking a risk assessment of the home, it could include calling emergency services, it could include contacting next of kin. We have a series of policies and procedures in place to assist us to respond and manage risks in order to meet organisational, legislative and statutory requirements.
Our aim is always to keep our clients and staff safe to ensure our services are delivered according to client needs and employment/award guidelines.