A trip to the hairdressers

My client wanted to get his hair cut, so we went to the shopping centre and I stayed with him to describe to the hairdresser what style he wanted. When this was explained I gave my client his phone and suggested that he send me a text when he was almost finished. I waited in a nearby cafe. At little later, when I received his text I went to the hairdressers where my client was waiting for me. The hairdresser politely said that my client had taken her tips from the worktop and also hadn't paid. I apologised for this and went to my client to sort things out.

My client suffers from many cognitive difficulties due to his acquired brain injury (ABI), one of which is problem solving, so when my client saw the hairdresser’s tips next to his own phone he immediately assumed that the money was his and took it. My client also has memory problems, so he forgot to pay for his haircut.

My client doubts his intelligence, which also knocks his confidence. Whilst he desires to be alone sometimes, he feels this is not possible as he might make another mistake. This might have consequences for other areas of his life, for example, when he has to be alone, use money or remember something important. My client had had a busy day that day and was carrying more things than he is used to doing since his ABI, so these additional factors could have led to him being overwhelmed or confused.

As this was situation was very confusing and upsetting for my client, we sat down to discuss how we would do things differently in the future. We decided it would be best, when leaving any appointment that needed paying for, to always check if he had paid even if he thought he already had. We also decided that until he was more confident with being independent, we would leave the correct amount of money for the bill in his wallet. I suggested that my client continues to pay for things regularly to gain more experience and confidence.

On reflection, I feel I could have encouraged my client to take on less that day. He did a lot of shopping before his hair appointment, which would have caused fatigue and increased his cognitive difficulties. I could have suggested two separate trips for shopping and the haircut. This way he may not have become so overwhelmed, which led to her making mistakes and causing distress.

Experience of a support worker in the Sheffield area

Posted: February 2014

If you would like to comment on this story please email us at supportworkers@jspsh.co.uk