A day in the life of an Adult Community Visitor

8.30am

I begin the day at my computer, as there are new emails waiting. I find one from my manager letting me know that there has just been a successful outcome in a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) hearing for a gentleman called Victor.*

Victor lives at a site I regularly visit, and I first became concerned about his situation last year when it became apparent that his mother, who was his informal decision maker for financial matters, appeared to be spending his money, and that Victor had no access to the account it was being held in.

I had many conversations with the service provider over a period of time, and they agreed that if Victor’s mother wouldn’t agree to apply to QCAT for a formal administrator to be appointed, that they would make the application themselves. His mother did agree to apply to QCAT, and so my manager submitted a letter to QCAT outlining my concerns about apparent financial mismanagement.

The email from my manager was to tell me that QCAT had just appointed the Public Trustee as financial administrator for Victor, which means his money is protected.

10.00am

I arrive at my first site of the day, and after greeting support staff I go and chat with the residents. We speak about their recent activities and things that make them happy, their carers and how they are being looked after, their health and any big plans they have coming up.

One lady excitedly tells me about a cruise holiday she is about to go on. I often have to use a variety of communication methods, including picture books, iPads and communication aids, but today I have to rely on sign language with one gentleman.

This is always a bit of a challenge, as my sign language skills are fairly rudimentary, but at least he gets a laugh from my efforts. Pleasingly, there are no issues that need following up today with this site.

11.30am

The next visit of the day is at a level 3 accredited residential services hostel. After checking in with staff, I wander out to the balcony where the majority of residents usually sit and they all greet me warmly because I have been visiting them for the last four years.

After chatting to them for a while I discover that one of the two washing machines is out of order, which is impacting on their ability to keep their clothes clean.

I head to the office to chat to staff about this issue, and while there I notice that the medications are not being properly stored, so I also speak to staff about medication administration and storage and clarify their processes.

After making sure I’ve had the opportunity to speak to all of the available residents, I bring the visit to an end.

1.00pm

After grabbing some lunch, I call the service provider that manages the site I just visited to discuss the medication issue, and what protocols need to be updated, and note to follow up with an email that can be included in my report.

I check my email on my phone and notice a message regarding a facility I’d reported an infestation of bedbugs at a couple of weeks earlier. I had raised the issue with the manager straightaway, who told me he was in the process of spraying all beds with a commercially bought spray.

I was unconvinced that this was the most effective treatment, so after my visit finished I had phoned my manager to discuss. She immediately escalated the issue, and a letter was sent to the Residential Services Unit in the Department of Housing and Public Works highlighting our concerns. I had already heard that as a result of this, the Unit would be going to the site to investigate, and this message was letting me know that they had instructed the manager to remove and discard of all contaminated mattresses, bedding and furniture, which is a great outcome for the residents.

3.30pm

Time for my last site visit of the day. After talking with some of the residents (and pleasantly sitting with a lady to read her new book with her), I go to check in on Marie,* who is living with autism.

On my last visit it was apparent there was an issue as Marie was often becoming agitated when staff couldn’t understand what items she was asking them to get for her. I spend some time going through Marie’s records, and chatting with one of her support workers as to whether a speech therapist had been engaged to help develop a communication plan.

Talking with the site manager today to follow up on the communication plan I find out that an National Disability Insurance Scheme plan has just been completed for Marie that contains funding for therapeutic services, and as a result a speech therapist will be engaged on an ongoing basis.

4.30pm

Time to head home and spend a couple of hours in my home office catching up with paperwork.

I want to go through documents from the sites I visited today to get a better picture of how they are operating to be as sure as I can be that there are no further concerns for the safety and wellbeing of all residents.

I then get a start on my site reports, and start planning for another busy day tomorrow.

*All names have been changed to protect identities.