Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What frustrates me about my job – Bureaucracy of logging contacts

The fact that every single contact needs to be recorded. A contact may be an appointment, phone call or email to a client, or making a call on behalf of a client. If I call a client and she’s not there and I can’t leave a message, I still need to mark that as a contact. You also have to mark what purpose it was for too; budgeting/advocacy/referral/etc. The benefits? Very easy to track what we’ve done with a client. Drawbacks? You gotta set a few minutes aside after every contact to write it down. This is not easy if you get a few appointments right after the other, or you’re doing something and you get a call from downstairs that a client is upset and could you come and calm them down?

One problem that happens with that is when you play phone tag with a client, or when you make half a dozen calls on behalf of a client in one day. Usually in those situations I clump what happened in one or two notes because it's easier to read.

But we keep it because it’s a method to assess what we’re doing. How many contacts we have and what we’re doing. But it creates a situation where we spend a good amount of time logging what we’re doing, instead of… Doing our job. Some case managers write their contacts down in a notebook, which I admit I used to as well when I started the work. Then I got annoyed that I had to write the contact information twice, and by the time I had to put it on the computer I had 30 notes to write. I also like to be detailed, because “Case manager and client chatted,” which I have seen written by a case manager (and not just once) doesn’t quite cut it.

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