A piece of writing that involves reflection on the case study below (1500 words)
You are asked to befriend Mrs Richardson (Mary) and also to see if she might be persuaded to attend her local lunch club or get involved in other local activities or days out for older people. You have also been asked to assist with these.
Name Mrs Richardson (Mary)
Age 80 years
Country of Origin White, UK
Mary Richardson is a widow (her husband died of a stroke eighteen years ago). She lives alone in a small terraced house. She has no siblings alive, but has two children – a daughter who married and moved to the US many years ago, and a divorced son living alone in Manchester who recently retired from his teaching job. Mary’s daughter has no children; she phones occasionally and visited at Christmas two years ago. Her son has three grown up children, one of whom, Suzanne, lives an hour away and visits every two or three months. Mary has a good friend who is housebound, and whom she speaks to on the phone once or twice a week.
Mary has quite severe arthritis and has difficulty using her hands. She can walk with the aid of a frame but finds it hard to negotiate steps or to get up from sitting, or to get into cars unaided. She has type two diabetes. She uses a stair lift to access her bathroom and toilet. Mary has agency carers who come in briefly in the early morning, at lunchtime and last thing at night to assist her with self-care, cleaning and meals. The carers vary weekly. Her son pays for a cleaner to come in once a fortnight. Until recently, Mary attended church but now cannot manage to get to and from services.
She has told Suzanne that she is anxious about going out alone, partly because she fears falling and partly because she is mildly incontinent and embarrassed about this.
Three weeks ago Mary’s cat died. A carer reported finding Mary in tears several times when she visited at lunchtime. Mary was embarrassed and apologised repeatedly for crying, but said that she was ‘just so lonely’.
Introduction (250 words approx.)
Which general professional skills and capacities could be drawn on in relation to this case example?
Are there bodies of knowledge which the practitioner would need to know in order to do this work (e.g legal questions, statutory or compulsory guidelines, codes of good practice, organisational policy?)
In the case example, how could the worker draw on the following
reflective use of self, the capacities of a skilled helper and ideas concerning relationship-based practice in order to best support the service user?
How can psychosocial concepts and ideas be used to support reflection on this practice example, in order to inform the work?
Conclusion (200 words approx.)
Linked Reading: https://www.mandbf.org/mbf-membership/what-is-mentoring-and-befriending https://www.csv.org.uk/volunteering/mentoring-befriending
Andrews, G.J et al (2003) ‘Assisting friendships, combating loneliness: users’ views on a befriending scheme’, Aging and Society 23:3 349-362