Mrs. Green is your client. She is 78 years old and has progressive degeneration of her hip joints that makes it very difficult for her to get out. You have been visiting her for three weeks, helping with the vacuuming, washing, and providing some social contact.
Although Mrs. Green seems to want you to continue coming to see her, you notice that she is very anxious about your leaving on time. You feel that she is probably worried about the costs of your visits and wants to make sure that she isn’t charged for extra time.
You’re aware that Mrs. Green has a daughter and, although she doesn’t say much about her, you get the feeling that the daughter does visit. You have never met her, though.
At the end of your last visit, Mrs. Green’s washer backs up, spilling water all over the basement. Mrs. Green becomes very anxious, saying to you that, “It’s alright: the water won’t hurt the floor. You’d better go, you’ll be late.”
You can’t just leave the water on the floor, and insist on cleaning it up. Somewhat reluctantly, Mrs. Green decides to let you do this and returns upstairs.
Just as you’re finishing, you hear the door. A younger woman speaks to Mrs. Green. You notice that her tone is harsh as she says, “You’re out of milk and bread? What did you do with all of the food I brought last week? Feeding those damn birds again— you don’t have enough sense to make sure that you keep food for yourself. Now I have to get stuff because you’ve wasted what you had. Sometimes you act as though you don’t have a brain in your head.”
Concerned, you put away the last of the cleaning supplies when you hear the younger woman say, “Whose coat is this?” When Mrs. Green replies that it is yours, the woman continues, “What’s the matter? You aren’t satisfied with all that I do? You have to invite some stranger into your house? Where are you getting all the money for this?”
You go to the top of the stairs. The younger woman says to you, “Thanks for your help, but my mother won’t be needing you anymore. I’ll make sure that you’re well paid for today.” Mrs. Green looks miserable, but helpless. She looks down at the floor.
- Describe all the feelings that you (or other PSWs) might have in this situation. Explain how they might be helpful or unhelpful in resolving the problem. (2 marks)
- List three behaviours of Mrs. Green’s that indicate she may be abused. (3 marks)
- In this situation, describe how power is being exerted over another person. (2 marks)
- What action is appropriate for the PSW to take in this situation? Why? (3 marks)