Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Direct Service Workers to Provide Self-Directed HCBS

Resolving Conflicts-Taking Action

1. Listen

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2. Read

Conflicts are normal! Working through a conflict can help you get the supports you want and keep a good working relationship with your DSW.

Once you’ve identified the problem, you and your DSW can follow the rest of the steps to resolving conflicts to come up with a solution.  Be open-minded – together you may come up with something that works better for both of you. Following the first step of identifying the problem, the steps are as listed below:

  • The second step is to brainstorm together all the different ways you can solve the problem.
  • Third, mutually agree on a strategy to solve the problem.
  • Fourth, implement the strategy together.
  • Finally, evaluate the outcome. Did this strategy work? If yes, celebrate! If not, simply try another solution until the problem is solved.

3. Reflect

What do you think?

Francie helps her daughter, Jane, use her self-directed supports to live in an apartment with a roommate, Kira, who also provides supports a few hours a day.   One afternoon Francie received a phone call from Jane who was upset that Kira wanted to leave the mall before Jane was ready.  Francie talked to Kira who explained that she had another commitment and couldn't stay as long as Jane wanted. Jane and Kira have argued about leaving the mall before.  If you were Francie, how would you support Jane and Kira to work out their conflict?

Francie reminded Kira that Jane needed supports, what her support needs were, and that it was Kira's job to drive Jane to and from agreed upon activities.  Kira seemed frustrated but agreed that she would do so.  However, in the weeks that followed, Francie was getting more calls from Jane whenever she and Kira didn't agree on something.  She wished they would work it out themselves.  Francie didn't want Jane calling her everytime there was a problem, and now she was worried that Kira would decide to leave.  When Francie stepped in, she was not teaching Jane the skills she needed to resolve conflicts with her DSWs.  Francie had to continue to step in whenever there was conflict. 

Sometimes family members who help direct supports need to teach their family member who receives supports how to work with their DSWs.  Francie talked with Jane and Kira on the phone.  She reminded Kira what Jane's support needs were.  She reminded Jane that she needed to tell her support workers what she needed.  Francie told them that she would come by later that evening to talk with them both.  She wanted them to find a way to work out their problem before she got there.  Later, when Francie talked to Jane and Kira, they had worked out the problem together.  When they made plans, Kira would let Jane know if she had other commitments ahead of time.  They would agree on what time they were going to leave before the activity.  Francie supported Jane by coaching Kira about what she was expected to do as Jane's DSW.  Jane and Kira also practiced problem-solving together, which helped their relationship.  Francie no longer gets as many calls from Jane because she is able to work out conflicts with Kira without calling her mom.