Thursday, November 17, 2016

Like Kenneth

My family and I have been enjoying the new tv sitcom "Speechless."  It's about a family with with a special needs child, JJ, who works with a care provider, Kenneth, through out the day.  In the Halloween episode, there is a bit where the kid wants to go to a party with his high school friends and the care provider tries to reject the idea in favor of going to sing Monster Mash at karaoke.  The tension of the care provider having to navigate between what he wants and what his client wants is a repeating motif in the show.

While the show's care situation is very different, I feel like the care provider character is a good character.  They have made an effort to show that the family often has one expectation of the care giver and the care giver is just another person with their own expectations.  They also show the growing relationship between the care provider and the client.

What care providers do is an essential part of how an individual like Lyn or their family members get through the challenge of just living with the health or disability issues at hand.  They may help with feeding and hygiene issues.  They provide structured supervision and activities to the client so the client's normal care giver such as a family member may have a break.  They work to keep the client safe and may intervene if a decision the client makes is a risky one.

In the case of the show, JJ wants to go to a party.  Kenneth takes him even though he would prefer to do a different activity.  When the JJ wants a beer and is under aged, Kenneth does try to intervene.  Both of these are appropriate actions on part of the Kenneth.  If the provider had wanted to take care of his own chores or personal needs while being paid to provide services, that would not be appropriate.  With Lyn, this can get tricky.  Lyn will ask to walk around Sam's Club.  She doesn't want to buy anything but enjoys walking through the store.  If I was her care provider, I would be very tempted to pick up an item or two if I needed it while there with her because it would be efficient.  Lyn doesn't mind if her care provider does purchase something and has even asked her care provider if they can go do the provider's weekly grocery shopping as the activity for the day.  If Lyn asks, it is ok.  It would be a problem if the care provider decided to tend to their needs instead of the client's desires and took advantage of their time with a client who doesn't have the ability to object.

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