Banks (2012) highlighted all the aspects of social work as conformed in social work values and ethics and that as a social worker, adherence to moral attitudes of service users is of great importance and something that will make social work practice exceptional and distinctive. Meanwhile this piece of work is a reflective account which seeks to relate social work values to practice through the inclusion of critically appraising service users and carers’ perspectives reflecting on the scenario of the “Diary of the Desperate Daughter”. The piece of work will start by a brief description of the scenario and followed by a critical analysis of service users’ and carers’ perspectives on social work values thereby highlighting some of the dilemmas encountered by the helping professions when dealing with service users.
In this scenario of the “Diary of the Desperate Daughter” Jeannie Farmer felt drained and distressed after having struggled for three years trying to get help for her mother, Juliet Farmer who had been diagnosed with vascular dementia. She had kept a diary since her mother Juliet, was diagnosed with dementia in 2003. Though Jeannie admitted that her mother had cognitive problems, she did not agree with the professionals' decision to consider a residential home for Juliet. Jeannie had been in contact with a number of professionals and her first point of contact was a General Practitioner (GP) for her mother's full medical assessment. Though the GP’s assessments might have been genuine that Juliet was losing it, however the way the GP conveyed his message appeared stereotypical, judgemental and age discriminatory. Although professionals have legal power over people of the community, according to (Banks, 2012), Kant argued in his theory that individuals should be treated as beings who have choices and desires. He stresses the point that a person has the ability to give reasons for his/her actions and the ability to make decisions acting according to desires and choices, (Kant,  1964, p. 96, cited by Banks, 2012). Jeannie appeared to have disagreed with the GP's assessment because she was not involved in the assessment.
On a social work perspective, the GP should have involved both the service user and the carer in gathering and sharing information, thus getting to know the client using a KIT model as described by Collingwood et al, (2005) in the Circle theory, and by so doing they may all have come up with what might be best for the service user hence maintaining a good and sound relationship. The GP demonstrated his professional power and his personal judgements appeared oppressive and discriminatory may be due to Juliet’s age, dependency or mental condition. People with dementia may feel vulnerable and need reassurance and support; therefore as social workers we have to be supportive and sympathetic using our knowledge and skills to incorporate anti-oppressive principles in our practice. We should use our professional power in a responsible, accountable and respectful manner without oppressing and discriminating the people we work with.
However, Juliet was referred to a community mental health team and a community psychiatric nurse (CPN) visited, he said Juliet had cognitive problems. The way he communicated with the service users was tolerant and understandable. It is our duty as social work practitioners to have a sound professional understanding of our roles so as to sustain a strong rapport with service users. The CPN went on to refer Juliet to a consultant for older people and advised them that someone must have enduring power of attorney for her financial affairs. From a social work point of view, Juliet still had the ability to make her own decisions therefore it was her right to be involved in any decisions made about her own life. The CPN appeared judgemental, oppressive and discriminatory as he thought that Juliet was unable…