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

What is Misconduct?

1. Listen

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A woman in a wheelchair shielding her face. She is being grabbed by the color by a DSW.

2. Read

Misconduct is serious.  If a DSW steals from you or abuses you in any way, talk to a service coordinator or someone you trust to get help. Examples of misconduct include:

  • Theft - When someone steals from you.
  • Financial exploitation - When someone misuses or takes your money or things that belong to you. They may threaten, pressure, or bully you into giving them what they want.
  • Physical abuse - When someone hits, pinches, slaps, kicks, causes bruising, or other actions that can cause you pain.
  • Mental abuse - When someone yells, threatens, bullies, or causes distress to you.  Keeping someone from seeing other people is also a form of mental abuse.
  • Sexual abuse - When someone uses force, threats, or coercion to make you participate in any touching, fondling, or sexual activities you do not want to do.
  • Neglect - When someone does not provide for physical, health, or emotional needs they are responsible for, for example, not giving people food or their medications.
  • Any other behavior that harms your health, safety, or quality of life

If you are experiencing any kind of abuse from a DSW, friend, family member, or someone else in your life, it's important to seek help.  Talk to your service coordinator to get the support you need to terminate your DSW safely.  Your local adult protection agency can help you.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline can also help you create a safety plan and help you get the support you need.

3. Reflect

What do you think?

Joe has had a hard time keeping DSWs. He finally found a DSW who does a good job and who he likes to have around.  Sometimes the DSW will drive him to the grocery store and bank even though that isn't part of his job duties.  The DSW talks about his children and the financial challenges his family has.  Joe feels bad and has started buying the DSW groceries and diapers for his baby when they are at the store.  Joe's niece found out that this was happening and told Joe that he was being taken advantage of.  She said it needed to stop or she would report it.  Joe is angry and isn't sure what to do. It's his money and he should get to spend it how he wants.   What would you tell Joe?

Joe is trying to be kind to his DSW.  Even if Joe is offering the help, and the DSW isn't asking Joe for money, the DSW could end up in trouble for financial exploitation.  Joe and his DSW are not respecting an important professional boundary.  If Joe wants to pay his DSW more, he could evaluate his budget to see if he can make room for a bonus or a wage increase.