Healthcare and Medicine Reference
The purpose of the grant is to develop skill in workers and clients to use
interactive video and audio (small cameras attached to computers that
transmit video and audio over the telephone lines and can be recorded
on video machines for workers to view if the worker isn't in the office).
Interactive technologies would allow workers to evaluate clients on a
day-by-day basis. If clients show deterioration, a worker could immedi-
ately be dispatched or emergency services could be contacted.
The current system allows workers to provide home visits at 2-month
intervals. Everyone agrees that this is too little time to spend with frail,
at-risk clients, but the idea of using technology to evaluate clients is a
turnoff to your workers. They believe that it would change their jobs
from something highly personal to something highly abstract and, while
efficient, that it would be too distant from direct client contact to enjoy.
Some of the workers have threatened to quit if the grant is funded.
You've indicated to upper management that the grant isn't well thought
of by your workers, but management argues that the grant will provide
much more efficient practice, and if your workers don't like it, they can
leave. This new system will allow for immediate contact with clients and
direct response if clients are in crisis. It makes sense to use this approach
given funding difficulties and the growing number of frail elderly clients
living well into their 90s who live alone or with an equally frail spouse.
Upper management also points out that it would be far cheaper to hire
people without treatment experience, train them, and have them do
worker contacts online. If clients need personal help, the agency
can outsource the service to workers in private practice.
The grant is written with your help but minus worker feedback.
When the grant is funded, you have responsibility for getting the reluc-
tant workers on board.
1. Where do your allegiances lie? With the agency or with the workers?
2. Should you have done anything while the grant was being written to
get your workers on board? If so, what, and why?
3. New technologies are likely to change the nature of work in the
human services. How would you train workers to use interactive
4. Would it have helped to share the advantages of the grant with your
workers and to focus on the fact that early intervention would
improve effectiveness rates and save your client group a good deal of
pain and suffering? Why or why not?
5. Do you think there is a real risk that workers will quit when you ask
that they become involved in the application phase of the grant? What
might you do to prevent this from happening?
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