Department of Health

Under One Roof Part 3 - Conversation or confrontation

  • 09 September 2015
  • Duration: 4:02
  • Conversation or confrontation?

    Enactment: What ones are racing today? So I've got a problem. OK, well do you want to talk about it? Alright. Alright, we will go outside. Take a seat. It’s not my fault. OK. What's going on?

    Sue Gery, Proprietor, Alma House: Uncomfortable conversations with residents don't occur from time to time. They occur almost daily, sometimes. It's part of the nature of the business.

    Jillian Brennan, Proprietor, Brooklyn House: I think you need to - if you are having an uncomfortable conversation, you have to be blatantly truthful - not rude but you need to be very truthful. Maybe, you know, someone who has got bad odour, body odour, you have to say, "When was the last time you had a shower? Do you think you could have a shower today?" Without saying to them, "You stink." You need to be respectful towards them. I think you just need to be honest.

    Dennis Bromley, Proprietor, Viewmont Terrace: First step is, I sit down with them in a spot where there’s nobody else around. Then I’ve got to reassure them that I'm there to talk about this problem that we've got, and I say, "we", not just them, because their problem is my problem. And I let them know, I'm not being judgmental here, I’m not going to tell you off, I just need to explain the situation with you, and how can we get over it.

    Sue Gery, Proprietor, Alma House: I had a 38-year-old, gorgeous female resident. She was really sweet and lovely. Kept to herself. She was quite withdrawn. I continued to try to talk to her. One day I took her out for coffee and we were talking and she looked very lonely and not very happy. What came out - and she said to me, "You know, I'm 38 years old and I used to have a lot of friends and now my friends don't want to know me anymore. They don't want to see me and they don’t return my phone calls and they don't - they are not there for me anymore." This made me feel very uncomfortable because I just felt her pain. I had to deal with that in a way that was real, because there was no point saying, "Well, you know, they’ll be there for you tomorrow." So we continued to talk and I had to say to her, "Well, sometimes people move on, and sometimes - these people probably have families and they have gotten on with their lives and now you need to get on with your life." So that was a very difficult conversation. However, she was happy that she'd been able to verbalise her feelings and that she’d had someone to listen to her.

    Else Bromley, Manager, Viewmont Terrace: Yeah, the residents know they can come any time and talk to us. There's never really been time - sometimes if I'm busy, like on the phone or something, I will say, "Come back and I will talk to you later." But they all know that. They know they can go to any staff member at any time. Enactment: I wouldn't be saying if it wasn't true, OK? Alright, alright, I'll do that. Are you OK now? Yeah. You have calmed down? Yes, I've calm now. That's good. Oh, alright!

    Sue Gery, Proprietor, Alma House: I think that giving people respect, privacy and the most important thing is trust - I think that’s really, really important in the relationships that we have with our residents, because a lot of them don't trust the world out there. They haven't had very good experiences in the world out there. So trust is a big, big factor.

Stories and information about managing and living in a supported residential service, with a focus on managing disagreements.


This video was made with Viewmont Terrace, Cottisfield, Brooklyn House, Merriwa Grove, Delaney Manor, Greenhaven, Alma House and SVVI-SRS Supporting Connections.

Reviewed 09 September 2015


Was this page helpful?