Staff Illnesses


#1

I did do a search with random wording but nothing popped up to what I am wondering…anywhoo do you know of any staff, uniformed or not that have any medical ailments that impact on what they can do within cadet activities etc I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia which basically means I ache from doing barely anything. I push myself to be as active as I can and the Sqn staff know not to expect much when it comes to anything physical. I know my limits and I never do activities without other members of staff so cadets aren’t in danger of anything happening. I have my good days and I also have my bad days when I can’t even turn up to a parade evening cos I’m laid up in bed allowing my body to chill.

Just wondering if there are any others with similar ailments and how they manage with their conditions.


#2

I know staff members with epilepsy, diabetes, depression, Crohnes disease, CF, one leg and CFS. All manage their own conditions and ailments in their own way. Some are very open about it, others very discreet - having a “trusted circle” to help them manage their health if it starts impacting on them.

I’ve got one of the above. As a CI I had no issues. When I applied for uniform I ended up getting a medical at my local RAF station, with my notes being forwarded to the RAF chief medical officer who made a declaration of what I can/cannot do. I’ve no idea if that still happens - I know staff who developed conditions whilst already in uniformed service who aren’t constrained in the same way that I am. But ho hum.

For me the biggest frustrations have been; managing expectations/assumptions, lack of review from the RAF to make adjustments to my constraints based on new medical evidence and not being able to do some stuff that I wanted to.

On the plus side, I’ve got a solid staff team who are incredibly tolerant and supportive! Even in the early days when I was having major issues still, they were fantastic and full of encouragement and support. I have, however, come across the negatives too - “What are you bringing to the party?” attitude; focusing on what I can’t Do, rather than what I can - even as far as dropping me from events (without having the balls to consult with me!) because I’ve been perceived as a liability, or because their understanding of an uncontrolled condition was very different to what I actually have.

My advice would be to let the key staff members know. Let them know how it impacts on you and anything they can do to help and support you. I’d also give anybody you work for (event ICs) etc the heads up too. I can’t pretend it’ll be all straight forward - but it most people get by just fine!


#3

It’s a weird one.

We all have different issues, and all deal with them in different ways.
I’m restricted in work at the minute with what I can do, for example I am signed off weapons due to where my heads at. Obviously this will directly translate into cadets as if the RAF won’t let me handle weapons and found out I was still doing that in the cadet environment… Well… I probably wouldn’t have my job for very much longer.
I also suffer with severe lower back pain. And those who know me in the real world will attest to how much gype it gives me. This does occasionally limit what I can do with cadets, just not officially. My TG23 has several continuation sheets.

How do I deal with them? First one is quite easy, I’ve got the risk of being reprimanded for handling weapons and as much as I loan about work, I do actually kind of like it so follow the book on that one.
Secondly, I just get on with it. I know that doesn’t work for everyone, hell it doesn’t work for me half the time. Many a time I’ve finished an event got home and haven’t been able to move for a few hours. I generally need the next day to recover. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of an idiot so don’t learn from that and keep doing it again and again. Not because I enjoy my pain (although at this point I’m not entirely sure that’s the case any more) but because I try my hardest to make sure the cadets enjoy what they come to cadets to do.

All of the staff team know the issues I have, but we are all a quite close knit team anyway. They’ve not been anything but helpful whenever I have my bad days. Be that me skipping a parade night or two, or just lessening the input I give on a given day.


#4

Unfortunately there is no proper fitness level requirement in the Corps.
I have no idea what your condition is or limits and can’t give advice on your particular condition.
The main point you need to decide is how much you can do safely and be able to take care of the cadets you are with.
Take for example you are doing a DofE expedition it’s easy to say I can do a 8 hr hill walk ok but what if a group lost and you need to go find them then you get there find them, you need to them motivate that team encourage them off the hill so the simple 8hr day is now looking like 12hrs maybe longer, but then you need to get up early the next morning to check on that team. So the simple 8hrs is turning a lot longer and the 8hrs rest you had planned is now down to 6…
So you need to manage that and know your limitations.

The reason I say unfortunately as I have met and worked with staff with various issues and the results are far from acceptable in my opinion.
Staff members who need to be pushed by cadets in their wheel chair or some that need cadets to help them move about it help cut up their food. The basic fundamental argument is as staff WE are there to be able to look after the cadets and their welfare, we should not be expecting cadets to support staff unless there has been an issue ie on DofE staff member falls and hurts themselves cadets support the staff member off the hill.

I hope I haven’t put you off being staff but given you something to consider carefully


#5

The only thing you need to be staff is a pulse. Although I have met some who only just fit that criteria.


#6

Have you looked at having an individual risk assessment written?

It is effectively the same process we would conduct if you have a member of staff who becomes pregnant or develops a medical condition and needs a reasonable adjustment and can add a lot of clarity on what are cans and maybes and what are the no’s and probably not.

Once completed and signed off a copy of the risk assessment if held by the CO and the staff member and reviewed periodically as all risk assessments should be (not sure if a copy should be held by WExO - might be worth checking).

When you go on camps etc the risk assessment goes with you and is viewed by the camp com who then arranges for any reasonably adjustments to be implemented.

Not only should this process give yourself and others a bit of confidence, it also allows you to have something should you start being given unrealistic or unreasonable tasks to go pack with.

Also by having it in the risk assessment format it makes it easier for it to be understood by those unfamiliar with you and the condition and if you’ve briefed people in advance they will hopefully been able to allocate you a role where you can make the most effectively contribution you are able to.


#7

I think a individual risk assessment is a bit much for me as I don’t join in when I know there is going to be a strenuous activity, and the other staff know not to expect me volunteer. Camps are a no no for me at all, I struggle when we go on our family holiday to the coast and the train journey is a nightmare with them always being packed like sardines :confused:

When I am able to attend a parade night, anything I can do for the cadets I will do without question. I’m currently going through a good phase for the last few days as I’m not being silly and over doing it.

Even my doctor doesn’t fully understand it so I don’t expect many others less qualified than a doctor to either :confused: