Foundations Webinar, Tuesday 25 January 2022
Casework is the difference between a Home Improvement Agency and technical support in relation to repairs and adaptations. Casework has sat at the heart of Home Improvement Agencies from their start in the mid 1980’s. Caseworkers provided the Care in Care and Repair agencies. Caseworkers stayed with clients from beginning to end in the early Staying Put agencies; providing continuity of care. Holistic, person-centred casework provides the DNA in an effective HIA.
The Social Model of Disability
Central to effective casework is the concept of the Social Model of Disability. The social model of disability emerged at about the same time as the start of the HIA sector. It sees people not in terms of their impairments but in terms of the barriers that are put in the way of people participating in a full and active life in all its aspects. Good Casework sets out to remove as many of those barriers as possible. These barriers do not just relate to the fabric of the built environment which stops people getting upstairs, being able to wash without help or getting out and about. Casework will also aim to address inequalities of opportunity to participate in society by dint of relative poverty, social isolation, or the lack of the knowledge people need to make informed choices about what is possible for them to do. It is for this reason we talk about casework as being holistic and person-centred. Holistic because it views people in the context of their community as a whole. Person centred because it tries to provide unique solutions tailored to the expressed preferences and needs of the client or customer.
Every engagement between caseworker and client will be unique, but generally casework will follow these 7 stages:
- Introduction and establishing trust
- Discussion and exploration of the issues and options
- Assessment and agreement to favoured solution
- Deliver support
- Monitoring and evaluation
HIA casework is therefore not just an administrative function but seeks to:
- challenge attitudes to old age and disability
- provide the social support and services needed to overcome some of the barriers; for example by putting people in touch with befrienders, a lunch club and other local community organisations and services
- provide information in a way the client can understand. This relates to both the format and language used as well as ensuring people understand the implications of the housing and adaptation choices they make.
- remove the physical barriers
- work with the client to provide the service they wanted rather than the service on offer; for example by offering a range of ways to engage with their HIA.
A Caseworker can:
- Explore with clients, their needs and aspirations
- Support clients to explore the options to meet those needs
- Enable clients to access their best option based on informed choice
- Source available funding to make that choice a reality
- Work with partner agencies to improve the wellbeing of our clients.