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Career Story: Administrator Of Services To Protect The Elderly

Administrator Of Services To Protect The Elderly

Job Title: Protective Services

Type of Company: I work for a non-profit organization partly funded by the state. Protective Services is a mandated program in Massachusetts which receives suspected reports of abuse or neglect (including self-neglect) of people age 60 and over.

Education: BA, Sociology

Previous Experience: I worked in a nursing home as a personal care assistant. I volunteered with the Special Olympics and assisted people with disabilities to swim.

Job Tasks: My primary role as a Protective Service Supervisor is to ensure the safety and well-being of the elderly people in our jurisdiction. I supervise Protective Service Advocates (PSAs) who investigate reports of abuse or neglect.

A typical day for me will include providing support and direction to my staff as they strive to ensure the safety and well-being of the consumers. The intake department will receive the verbal reports and the supervisors will determine if a report needs to be investigated. The report could be an emergency (which needs to be addressed within five hours) or a "rapid" (in 24 hours) or a "routine" (in five days). My job is to assign the intake and ensure the PSA has the necessary support and information to do a thorough job. But I also have to ensure the safety of the consumer and my staff. We conduct home visits and try to engage the consumer in order to gather information and assess their situation. And then, if the consumer allows, we provide services to help them remain safely in the community.

The PSAs have a very stressful job and my responsibility is to help them manage their caseloads and documentation. As a supervisor, I work closely with other departments in the agency, conduct interviews for hiring, conduct training related to abuse and neglect and develop policy and procedures. I also attend many job-related training sessions, attend trainings in the community, provide community education and compile statistics.

We also are involved with helping consumers in court, and sometime we go to court to ensure a consumer's safety. We provide an outpouring of support and referrals to our consumers and their caregivers. We have many programs in the department to assist in keeping the elderly in their homes. We work loosely sometimes with other organizations to develop services to help the consumer in the home. The PSAs are great at building rapport and assisting people in the community

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is working with a great group of individuals who are committed to bolstering the rights of the elderly and always keeping in mind the safety of the consumer and the right to make decisions and understanding the consequences of those decisions. The right to self-determination is critical.

Job Tips: Protective Services is not an entry-level position for someone graduating college with a BA in Social Work. The individual needs clinical experience as well as plenty of crisis intervention and planning. There is a lot of training that goes along with the job and commitment is critical to the consumer and co-workers. Working with consumers over the age of 60 requires a lot of patience, empathy, passion and respect.

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