The research on burnout among those who work with complex young people indicates strongly that it’s important to finish what we start in appropriate ways. We know that it’s not healthy for health service practitioners to leave things unsorted in our experience.
Too often, treatment of complex young people (especially if it is contracted out) becomes isolated from the day-to-day management and ‘real life’ of the
client. When treatment drifts away from its target and becomes fragmented across the agencies and individuals involved, client outcomes are affected,
case managers lose touch and stakeholders may even do things for the client that are at odds with the treatment plan.
One of the many difficulties for support staff or carers assisting a complex young client is to establish, and then maintain, a healthy working relationship with them. Keeping a complex young person engaged is often very dependent on their relationship with support staff.In my experience, the efforts support staff put into building strong relationships with complex young people can sometimes fall flat. And in desperate attempts to help, some support staff may blur the relationship boundaries in dangerous ways.
Formulation and treatment planning in complex cases involving a young person are particularly challenging because of the sheer volume of information available to us. The key question is how to make effective use of it all. My suggestion is that we extend the well-known 4P approach to take into account 4 more critically important areas. In my view, ‘4P + 4’ would enable us to reach much greater clarity on what to target, why and how in order to improve a young person’s situation.
FAT FILE Syndrome… a sad and potentiality dangerous symptom of working with complex clients. A file full of assessments and reports that lead nowhere; expensive and wordy documents that are worth nothing to the client or the client’s team when it comes to creating the much-needed outcomes.