Holding Fast: The Struggle to Create Resilient Caregiving Organizations

Holding Fast: The Struggle to Create Resilient Caregiving Organizations

Holding Fast: The Struggle to Create Resilient Caregiving Organizations

Holding Fast: The Struggle to Create Resilient Caregiving Organizations

Synopsis

How can caregivers remain both caring and strong enough to withstand the stress of their work? How can caregiving organizations effectively improve their management and practice? Increasing pressure on caregiving organizations to serve more people with fewer resources means that epidemics of burnout, high staff turnover, dissatisfaction and internal conflict often appear inevitable. Holding Fast focuses on the particular stress of caregiving work, its influences on the people and organizations who do that work, and what they can do about it. Illustrated by case studies based on extensive research in schools, hospitals, social work agencies, health care centres and religious institutions, Holding Fast identifies the problems faced by caregiving organizations, and outlines appropriate strategies for tackling these to create a resilient, effective organization. The book is divided into clear sections covering: * an introduction to the nature of caregiving organizations * the disturbances that can occur within them *the skills required to effectively lead them. Holding Fast offers a portrait of how organizations become, or are prevented from becoming, systems of caregiving. It will help leaders of caregiving organizations and their staff gain a better understanding of the difficulties encountered by their organizations, leading to improved management and practice.

Excerpt

In my years of working with organizations as a researcher and consultant I have found myself drawn to certain kinds of places. Schools, hospitals, social service agencies, mental health centers, residential treatment centers, churches and synagogues, daycare and geriatric centers - we have sought each other out, it seems, for these places comprise much of my work. These organizations are of a type. They contain similar issues that present themselves for resolution. These include seeming epidemics of stress and burnout, teams in disarray, gulfs between the front lines and the back offices, conflicts within and between groups and departments. It is possible, of course, that these issues present themselves because I look for them and the organizations oblige, used as they are to providing for the needs of others. It is also possible that these organizations share nothing more than my interest, rather than some classification that renders them alike in some meaningful way.

I have grown increasingly convinced, however, that these organizations share a common denominator. They are caregiving organizations, a class that subsumes the traditional category of “human service” or “helping” organizations. Caregiving organizations are those whose members provide care to people who seek healing, growth, ministry, learning or support of one kind or another. It is in the nature of the caregiving task that certain issues are triggered, for the organizations and their members; it is in the nature of the caregiving work that questions are posed that must be resolved if that work is to be ultimately effective.

I decided to take seriously this idea that there is such a thing as a caregiving organization, which manifests itself across various sectors that include education, healthcare, ministry, social services, residential treatment, and psychiatric facilities. Each of these sectors, of course, has its own significant literature and those literatures offer a great many useful theoretical frameworks and practical ideas. There is much to be gained, however, from examining these organizations as caregiving organizations, that is, as institutions whose members bring resources to bear on healing, ministering to, growing, and in other ways caring for those who approach them bearing needs, anxieties, and other aspects of their humanity. This transaction is or ought to be at the core of the

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