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lovemyjob
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This post is not about judging the person but would like some advice please.

 

If you had a staff member that was suffering from Psychosis, depression and PTSD how would you feel ?

 

If the staff member had a brilliant track record but you are now beginning to notice she is struggling at work and at home ?

 

That mistakes were happening (only little things, but could have lead to something more serious)

 

If she was on medication so strong that she has had her driving licence taken from her by the DVLA?

 

What if she was suffering severely hearing voices which was happening whilst she was at work and whilst she is working with the children ?

 

How can she be supported (she is under the care of the mental health team) by work and as we have a duty of care for our children should there be any risk factors to be considered ?

 

Please be sensitive and constructive with your suggestions/help.

 

Thank you

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Poor woman, is she willing to let you have contact with the mental health team so you can get advice from them? Is she safe to work with children while suffering like this? I'm not judging her but obviously i don't know her exact situation and it worries me that she hears voices because i know of someone that had problems like this and the voices were telling to do all sorts and it didn't end well. I wish you and her all the best.

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Are there other roles that she could take on........................admin perhaps?( Although this in itself could be taxing for her, as her concentration may be poor)

Does it worry her that she hears voices telling her to do things...........and is she willing to discuss with you what those things are?

 

As much as you might sympathise, I would ensure that she is never left alone with any child.

 

How does she feel she is coping with her job and would she consider taking a leave of absence (Can you afford to pay long-term sick pay)

 

I think you need to contact your insurers to find out if (how) this affects her working in your setting

 

I really feel for this lady( and do understand some of your problems) BUT.......and you know where this is headed.............the children must come first and you have a duty to ensure they are safe.

 

I would call ACAS as well as your insurers, for advice and do you need to contact your Early Years team..................though this in itself could be difficult as you need your staff members permission. Can you talk with them on a 'what if we had this situation?' basis

 

I would also take time to have a serious,but gentle discussion with this lady...........she might be very relieved to talk this through and she might be relieved to take time out from her job so she can concentrate on getting as well as she can. Mental health is a big taboo in our culture, and I definitely think you need to talk this through with her. What does she think about the whole situation?

 

I hope you come to some sort of resolution that helps you all...........I presume this lady is getting time off to go to appointments etc? Does she have support.........either at home( family members might be trying to ignore the issues ( there is often a pull yourself together attitude towards mental health issues), so she might feel she has no-one to turn to. Whilst you don't want her to feel she is being 'watched' it really is clear that she can't be alone with children and you will need to be aware of her moods.....perhaps she needs to be able to tell you straight away if she feels she's not coping( be aware that noise can be a trigger for someone suffering PTSD..............it doesn't have to be loud, it can simply be at a pitch that sets a sufferer on edge)

 

Finally.........I want to wish you good luck. This is a difficult situation for all concerned. You have a duty of care to the children, but equally to all your staff. Not easy x

Edited by narnia
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She has no support at home as her family live 70 miles away and she is a single parent to two children so i know sheis trying to cope with this all alone.

 

i think if she could have afforded to go off sick then she would have, but she also very aware we are a very small setting and her absence will effect the whole team.

 

She works 3 days a week.

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Hearing voices isn't necessarily the issue you might think it is so try not to jump too much to conclusions. It's more common than you might expect.

Psychosis comes in many forms some of which can be controlled with medication which she is clearly taking. Being unable to hold a driving licence because of her medication doesn't make her dangerous to children.

 

Unless she's done something that indicates she would put the children in her care at risk or she's told you that the voices are telling her to cause harm, there's no need to make any special arrangements for her that you wouldn't if you were unaware of her mental health difficulties. Creating rules especially for her could be seen as discriminatory.

 

I think you should address the problems you've observe regarding how she is carrying out her role. Offer support, time off, etc and make it clear that you need to work with her to find a way to enable her to carry out her role effectively. That,really, should be your only concern.

 

If she has volunteered the information about her mental health to you herself, you could ask her to explain more and, if necessary, to get a letter from her GP or a mental health practitioner who knows her confirming that she is well enough to work in this busy, sometimes demanding and stressful environment.

You've said she has a brilliant track record. Just focus on offering support so she can get back to doing the good job you feel able to expect of her as soon as possible.

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In that case, I go back to my previous comment.....she should never be alone with the children. I am sorry if that offends, but I think you have to err on the side of caution here. How is her self-harming 'obvious'?? What will you do and say if parents start asking questions about that?????????????

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I totally sympathize with your situation and with the lady concerned but first and foremost the safety of the children come first. We are also talking of the Statutory framework stating about suitable people.....

Staff taking medication/other substances
3.19. Practitioners must not be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance which may affect their ability to care for children. If practitioners are taking medication which may affect their ability to care for children, those practitioners should seek medical advice. Providers must ensure that those practitioners only work directly with children if medical advice confirms that the medication is unlikely to impair that staff member’s ability to look after children properly. Staff medication on the premises must be securely stored, and out of reach of children, at all times enables them to identify, understand and respond appropriately to signs of possible abuse and neglect (as described at paragraph 3.6).

3.9. Providers must ensure that people looking after children are suitable to fulfil the requirements of their roles. Providers must have effective systems in place to ensure that practitioners, and any other person who is likely to have regular contact with children (including those living or working on the premises), are suitable.

 

Good luck with it all .

Edited by Wendy123
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She has disclosed to her mental health team that the voices have become increasingly threatening to herself and others. She is also self harming which is very obvious.

 

 

In that case you need to sit down with her, explain that this causes you concerns regarding the safety of the children in her care and work out together how you are going to move this forward.

 

It seems like an honest, open conversation with her, where you express concern for her alongside reinforcing your duty of care to the children is the best way forward. Make detailed notes of the conversation.

 

If she feels that she does not pose a risk to the children, she needs to ask one of her mental health team to confirm in writing that neither her condition, nor (bearing in mind Wendy's link) her medication will affect her ability to care for the children.

 

As she's told you that the voices are talking about harm to others, I think it's appropriate to ask her to take some time off sick until you have the letter.

 

Unless the self harm is happening on the premises or she is talking to the children about it, I think you respond to questions from parents in the same way you would any other questions about a staff member's personal life. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are satisfied that she is well enough to carry out her role appropriately. You are clearly doing that and parents need to trust you to make those judgements.

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Psychosis, mistakes being made, hearing voices about causing harm, impairing medication, self harm ...

I truly sympathize, we all have demons in our lives which we have to face some time and this can lead to mental health issues in varying degrees. However, the list of impacts it is having on her would make me uncomfortable with her working in the setting. I would try to seek as much support for her as possible, but ultimately I think she needs to take some time out until it's resolved. In almost any other job role I would want to act differently, but I simply would not take the risk with young children. Each issue on its own is manageable but all together, when you may not know the full extent, leaves me feeling nervous and I know I'm not qualified to be able to support someone with all that going on whilst also running a setting and worrying about the impacts on children. That being said, 'psychosis' is incredibly rare, has that actually been diagnosed? See if you can find out what is meant by that. There could be a much simpler explanation.

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What support is she getting, other than the MHT? I only ask because my sister is a psychotherapist and deals with issues like this. If you'd like me to contact her to get some links to folk in your area, please shout.

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