Archive for the ‘motivation’ Category

I have noticed that one of my clients, Paul, has been looking more and more unwell over the past few weeks.  He said he had been assaulted a few weeks ago by a large group of people and has been feeling ill ever since.  He is also rough sleeping after being evicted from a hostel for having rent arrears of £18, and he has numerous other health problems including DVT’s.  Medically he needs to go to A & E (on his doctor’s advice) but feels he needs to get some accommodation first.

I spoke to the housing dept who agreed that Paul had priority and that if he presented with proof of benefits they would provide emergency accommodation.  He was extremely relieved as he said that he knew rough sleeping was making him even more poorly.  He agreed to go to HAP with me which was a really big step for him as he has had negative experiences of other services in the past.  We queued up for just under an hour, during which time Paul was still really positive despite being in obvious pain and feeling very unwell.  When we were called to the front desk we were informed that Paul’s case had been closed and there was no record of my phone conversation with them.  When I questioned this they said that they would have to get Paul’s file and see what had happened and that they were too busy to do it straight away.  They agreed that they shouldn’t have closed his file but, despite the fact that the error was on their part, Paul would have to come back later and wait, again, if he wanted to be considered for emergency accommodation.  They also stated that Paul needed a letter from his GP stating his health issues.  I reminded them that it is not Paul’s responsibility to seek evidence but theirs.  During this time Paul remained very quiet and polite, despite being extremely disappointed and upset.  Paul decided that he would try and find somewhere to stay himself.  The way which Paul’s case was handled just reaffirmed Paul’s mistrust of services. 

Paul is still rough sleeping and his health is deteriorating.  He is also reluctant to go back to the housing dept as he feels that they don’t want to help him.  I will encourage Paul to go and accompany him if he does.  I will also continue to contact housing and chase up what is happening with his case.  By advocating for Paul I hope that his case will be reopened and he will be given the priority status that he clearly requires and will be placed into suitable accommodation. 

Fiona, Support Worker


This case demonstrates how the people we work with find it almost impossible to engage with services.  Had Fiona not been with Paul on his visit to the housing dept, being told his case was closed would probably have ended his attempts to secure housing.  Our service users often feel powerless, in fact often the only power they perceive themselves to have in this kind of setting is aggression and fear – and it is this behaviour that leaves many banned from services.

Our government is committed to ending rough sleeping yet we are making the services for rough-sleepers severely inaccessible.  The worrying thing for us is that the longer an individual sleeps rough the harder they find it to move out of rough sleeping.  In Paul’s case this does not bode well – he is very ill, and getting worse. 

Our service users often get blamed for their own situation.  They certainly take some decisions that lead them to where they are.  But blaming them won’t support them to move on!  We firmly believe that people who aren’t getting the support they need should get it, whatever the reason for their situation. 


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It’s a really good feeling when somebody who struggles to engage with services takes it upon themselves to go get the support that can be so beneficial.  For about two years I have worked with a guy who has bipolar (manic depression) which means he can be very high spirited and energetic and funny, and will then drop to being severely depressed and suicidal.  He has a very low self esteem and I think this has a lot to do with why he finds it hard to take care of himself.  Things that seem simple to others like going to a GP when ill, or making sure you eat at least 2 meals a day, he finds really hard.  This guy has had lots of health problems since I’ve known him and he is registered with a doctor and will make himself an appointment but just not get there due to the above reasons and the chaotic nature of his lifestyle. 


A few months ago I was getting increasingly worried about his health as he seemed to deteriorate rapidly; he was losing a lot of weight and strength.  I know from experience that he’s not somebody you can have instant action with, he’s not going to go to his GP just because I suggest it and because he’s feeling ill.  It’s often easier for him to stay at home and try no to think about it.  I try to support him to access healthcare in a more subtle way.  For example, by doing motivational work with him so looking at positive things in his life e.g. how well he’s done in the past, the good relationship he has with his girlfriend.  I aim to help build his self-esteem in the hope this will help him to care more about himself and so look after himself better physically.  I also keep an eye on his health so asking him each time I have contact with him how well he thinks his health is doing and what his thoughts or plans may be around taking care of himself. 

I believe this work came to fruition one day when I found out he was in court so went down to try and find him.  He was looking very ill.  We had a chat about his health and he said “I think I need to go to hospital” and I told him I was free if he wanted me to go with him.  He asked if we could get a bite to eat first to we popped to a local shop and then went.  I believe my perseverance paid off.  By keeping up contact I could monitor his health and show him that we care.  I think it’s about getting the right balance between showing people that you care so you want them to access healthcare but also listening to them and hearing what they want and what they think and finding a middle ground.   With this situation it was important to maintain contact, even though this service user would not take action for a long time, it kept him thinking about his health every time he saw me so that when he was ready to make a move forward I was there to support him.


Jen – Support Worker

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