Getting the person at the centre of the process

Featured article - 27 November 2018
Kath Sutherland, FRSA. Founder of START Ability Services and Member of SCIE’s Co-production Steering Group

Kath Sutherland FRSA

One size does not fit all!

People with care and support needs are all individuals. They have individual wants, wishes, aspirations, beliefs and unique abilities... just like people without care and support needs. So, to understand someone’s support requirements involves assessments that show what someone would like to do in their life and any barriers that they may have achieving those goals.

But this is not possible without the person at the centre of this process, as they are the ones who know what is important to them. It’s only then that there is a true picture of the individual, and an appropriate care and support plan can be started. After all, no-one should lose their identity because a system or service fails to recognise their individuality!

Mission impossible?

It initially seems very difficult to create an assessment that achieves this if everyone’s needs are different. But luckily, the Care Act gave us guidance when promoting the idea of wellbeing. Using these key areas of wellbeing, I have been able to successfully create my own complex health and social care package. Additionally, I have developed a support plan template which our clients (with numerous impairments) have used. They then received the support they needed to live their lives, through personal budgets from health and social care funds, or the Access to Work Scheme. So not impossible, just different!

As I have a personal and professional interest in promoting personalised assessment and support planning, I was delighted to be asked to assist in the Quick Guide for people using adult social care services, 'What to expect during assessment and care planning'. The Quick Guide provides you with plain English information about what you should expect, as well as explaining that assessments and plans should reflect your own individual needs, wishes and personal circumstances.

It is designed to give anyone, who may need to access care and support services, the information they need to make an informed decision about whether appropriate assessment and planning has taken place. And as good assessment and planning makes a massive difference to people’s lives, why wouldn’t you want to know about it?

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