Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fighting Without a Club

An article from the AP on Media Dis&Dat yesterday said that there has been more fighting at the Corpus Christi State School in Texas in the last few days. I hope they knew this was going to happen and I hope they are doing something SUBSTANTIVE to prevent even more.

This continued fighting is totally predictable. That facility has developed a culture of violence and a little news exposure isn't going to fix it.

Residents have been rewarded for fighting--perhaps in a concrete sense, but certainly with attention and cameraderie. They will miss those rewards and if they don't get them they will amplify their behaviors to get them.

They need a plan to address this and dedicated, round-the-clock implementation of that plan by people intent on and capable of leading.

A few missing staff will not be enough to change an overriding tolerance of harsh or physical expression--among the staff or the residents. Leadership and everyone below them has to be dedicated to change--because frankly, in the break room, staff are most likely saying things like, "Yeah, they say they want change and we have extra staff and extra help, but as soon as the heat is off it will be back to business as usual."

Why? Because they have heard about change before...and things might actually have changed for a while, but after a while attention would turn to other things, money would go to other projects, blah, blah, blah... and the old way would come back.

Why do I know this? Because it's the same everywhere. "From now on..." is often a very short lived proposition.

There probably is a handful of believers on staff who are hungry for change, but they never had power--formal or informal--and, more than likely, they still don't. They will need to be supported. And protected--people who are willing to incite violence and take pictures are a pretty brazen bunch.

And the organization need to bring in help. They need experts in culture change and they need to increase their oversight drastically in ways that fit with the culture they wish to change to.

Culture change is an extraordinarily difficult process and the larger the organization involved, the harder it is to accomplish. And most organizations that undertake culture change have time to build the change they need. These institutions need it NOW. They may find that the only way to change the culture for so large a group of residents and staff is to break them into smaller groupings. That is what they are finding in eldercare.

Either way, few arrests won't be enough to make the difference they need.

And unless they enact sweeping changes now, more fights and more injuries are all they can really expect.

1 comment:

Terri said...

I got a couple of e-mails asking me why this comment appeared here, and since it is kind of confusing and already appears on the author's blog I did remove it.