My client was always anxious; she used to shout and self harm when showering. She didn't like soapy water over her and this made me, as her support worker, feel bad because my client had to shower. I had to hold the shower head while I applied the shower gel and shampoo, working as quickly as possible to make sure her showers were as short as possible to avoid prolonged upset.
In thinking about this I decided to try something different, so during the next shower I gave my client the shower head and asked her to get her hair and body wet so that I could apply the shampoo and shower gel. This freed up my hands so that I could work better at helping my client to get clean; more importantly this also gave my client control over the process and the shouting and anxiety stopped. This is now how my client has her shower each day - it takes longer than before but my client now enjoys her showers and I am much calmer because I don't have to rush.
Ensure that you enable your client to take the lead wherever possible and allow them time to complete the job. NEVER assume that your client can't do something.
Experience of a support worker in the Sheffield area
Posted: February 2014
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