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Meeting the needs of every individual

Careful individual assessment and planning, in partnership with the resident and their family, carers and other supporters, is the starting point for meeting their needs. Being person-centred means meticulous and continuing attention to detail. You will need a system in place to assure the quality of your assessment and planning process.

The assessment must include a social and occupational history, details of skills, hobbies, activities and interests, as well as diagnoses and healthcare treatment. Former colleagues may be able to contribute to the assessment. Local voluntary organisations and services may be able to add to the care plan. The aim is to:

  • maximise independence and opportunity for every person living in the home
  • understand and support individual identity and sense of self-worth
  • respect people’s choices.

The care plan is central to the quality of the service you offer. It depends critically on listening to your residents, and to the family and staff who are closest to them.

Watch the Nursing and Midwifery Council video, Call me Joe

Knowing individuals involves understanding their place in the group. People are entitled to privacy and autonomy, and may well prefer some quiet, independent time away from communal activities. At the same time, promotion of the social life of the home – through sociable mealtimes, joint outings and other activities – will help to ensure that ‘privacy’ does not conceal loneliness and depression.

Read more about combating loneliness, in Promising Approaches to reducing loneliness and isolation in later life, January 2015, Age UK/Campaign to End Loneliness

Checklist for owners and managers

You need to understand how the population of your home may be changing:

  • More men are living in care homes than in the past: are their interests and preferences respected?
  • Are the rights of non-traditional couples fully understood?
  • Are people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds always asked about their specific needs or preferences?
  • Are people with specific beliefs, sexual preferences, or histories which are different from the majority fully protected from possible discrimination, prejudice or exclusion by staff or residents?
  • How do you ensure your staff and their practice is non-judgemental?
  • How do you minimise or tackle discriminatory views from residents?

Person-centred care for older people in care homes