Here’s a sentence that I never expected to write – I love Steven’s daily reporting log. Note the singular “log”, not “logs”. Since that liberating meeting last September when we managed to extricate ourselves from those awful arse covering, tick box forms we had to complete for social services, we have just had one A4 book. There is no set format to it; it’s more like a diary than a log, so it allows the support staff to express themselves in their own individual way. And that’s what is so brilliant about it – the log perfectly reflects the unique relationships that Steven has with each of the workers. None of that nonsense like we had with the speach and language therapist who instructed us all to never use more than four words in a sentence with Steven and to stretch each vowel out like a piece of plasticine. It could never work. How do you answer the question: “Dad, what was Take That’s 10th song called?”. Answer – “It was Take That and LoooooooLooooooo singing Relight My Fire, Steve”. It doesn’t fit. And we’re not robots.
The main reason for keeping a log at all is to have a record to produce to the CQC upon inspection. And I would hope that the CQC would find the record interesting and admire the ability of the staff to form meaningful, individual relationships wqith Steven. The staff read the log at the start of their shift but we tend to rely on verbal communication during a handover. I know that I get told the important news by the workers or Steven, so I read the log for entertainment.
We have five support workers in the team; five very different men, each with their own way of relating. I am very fond of all of them and know that Steven’s life would be less fulfilling if they weren’t around. I’ve shown them this blog post and they know it is written with deep affection. For this post, I’ll call them Gary, Mark, Jason, Howard and Robbie.
Gary is Steven’s longest serving support worker and still carries some of the scars of trying to support Steven during his year at the positive behaviour unit. He still gets anxious about his work being scrutinised unfavourably, even though I think he is great. His entries in the log go into minute detail, almost bordering on the pedantic: “At 7.53am, Steven had a moment of anxiety and thumped the arm of the sofa”. “At 7.57am, he was calmer and ate a pear”. He writes pages and pages and the reader tends to give up halfway through but I love the attention to detail.
Mark has a lot of experience working in care homes and writes formally, focusing almost solely on behaviour: “Steven interacted positively with other service users at the pool”. It’s interesting because this isn’t how he interacts with Steven; they have great laughs together and he’s very chilled but I guess he’s used to that institutionalised way of writing.
Jason is a man of few words and so are his log entries. If you get more than three sentences from him, he’s being verbose. He is the strong silent member of the team who Steven tends to rely on for help with tasks. His logs reflect this: “Changed sheets. Did washing. Cut Steven’s hair”.
Howard is newer and has bonded well with Steven over music. Subsequently all his log entries have a musical reference in them: “Steven enjoyed his time in the steam room where we sang Adam Ant songs”; “We played an M People CD whilst making cheese on toast”.
Robbie is great and writes in rather exagerated, almost theatrical language: “Steven had a delightful time at the Mencap Pool”. “His mood was jolly as he chatted with his friends”. I could read this stuff all day; it’s like our life is chronicled by Enid Blyton.
Aren’t they great. And what we sometimes do is read them back to Steven and he gets dead excited by hearing the narrative of his day. We could never have done that with the old START recording forms.