Section 1: The client/worker relationship
When meeting a client for the first time, you will need to work towards engaging them in conversation and discussion of their needs, expectations, goals and aspirations. They may have difficulty engaging due to low self-esteem or feelings of being overwhelmed.
When you work with clients in a community and disability service organisation, it is vitally important to realise that the clients are much more than their presenting problems/issues and much more than the personality standing or sitting in front of you.
This section looks at two elements in which community and disability workers need to develop competency as service providers. They are as follows:
- Establishing interpersonal relationships with clients that will enable all issues to be dealt with.
- Evaluating the clients' range of issues and the delivery of appropriate services.
To establish an interpersonal relationship with clients that will enable all issues to be dealt with, you need to:
- have facilitative communication skills to assist clients to identify areas of concern, to prioritise areas for immediate and long-term action and to determine options for action and workable strategies to address their priority areas
- be able to define boundaries and use communication skills that will establish trusting and respectful relationships
- assist clients to develop their own action plans to address their circumstances
- share relevant information with clients about services available, options, and health and wellbeing issues to assist them in determining a course of action
- work with clients to set personal goals and explore personal strategies and to identify a hierarchy of strategies; including contingency plans
- work with clients to identify and plan for potential consequences of their decisions
- implement procedures to ensure all services and responses to clients comply with duty of care and accepted standards of ethical behaviour.