Where Do You Draw the Line? Discussing Professional Boundaries with PSWs
It’s come to your attention that one of your PSWs occasionally buys tuna for a client who’s on a fixed income. When you ask her about it, she says it’s no big deal. She knows the client has a tight budget so she sometimes buys a couple of tins for her when it’s on sale.
Tips to Help Your Support Workers:
It can be difficult for PSWs to know where to draw the line between professional and personal relationships - especially when those relationships span years. Most organizations have policies related to boundaries, so you certainly want to remind staff about them and explain that they were created to protect clients, workers and the organization.
A mini-coaching session can also help avoid boundary issues in the future. Here are a few questions to share with your PSWs so they can better recognize when they may be about to cross the line:
- Am I treating this client differently than other clients I support?
- Are my actions truly beneficial to the client or am I acting in a manner to meet my own personal needs?
- Would I be comfortable if this gift/action was known to the the client's family, my supervisor, other clients, or my colleagues?