Risk assessments designed to support choice and active participation should be updated regularly. This is because the needs or preferences of the individual may change (e.g. they may no longer want to partake in an activity). New risks may be identified which would also require the risk assessment to be updated. Changes in legislation may also prompt a review of existing risk assessments.
Risk assessments can be used in an adult social setting to identify and reduce any risks in a particular activity that an individual wants to partake in. For example, if an individual wants to go cycling, there is a risk that they could fall off their bike and get a head injury. This risk can be reduced by ensuring that the individual wears a cycle helmet.
Risk assessments can also be used reduce risk to support staff, such as if the individual they are supporting becomes aggressive. The risk assessment can contain actions that the support staff can perform to try and get the individual back to a baseline level, or if this is not possible, what they should do to keep themselves safe (e.g. leave the building, call the police etc.)
You can also use a risk assessment to ensure the environment remains safe and secure such as checking smoke alarms regularly or locking doors.
Risk assessments can be used to support the responsibilities of everyone involved in the care of an individual. The individual has the right to make their own life choices and these must be respected by their support worker, however their support worker has a duty of care to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the individual. By working with an individual to create a risk assessment, there is a documented record that the individual has been offered choice and informed about the potential risks involved. Simply by going through the process, it may give an individual a greater understanding of the risks and may change their mind. The risk assessment also aims to reduce potential risk, ensuring that the activity is performed as safely as possible. This allows the support worker to safeguard the individual as much as can reasonably be expected.
Risk assessments are used to reduce any risks to safety or wellbeing by ensuring that things are done in the safest way possible. They are not used to prevent an individual doing something that they want to do but to ensure that they are able to do it in a safe and appropriate manner. This promotes the rights of the individual to make their own choices and increases their independence. Also, by going through the risk assessment process with the individual and identifying the risks involved, they may be better able to understand those risks and have all the information they need to make an informed decision.
It is important that everybody involved in an activity understands and can apply the principles of active participation. This means acknowledging that the individual is present by speaking to and directly addressing them. Everybody should also be aware of the individual’s communication need, for example they may need speak in short sentences of 2-3 keywords and avoid using long words. Everybody should be given the time to speak and express their opinions and where conflicts arise, everybody should work in partnership to discuss the issue and find a suitable compromise. Individual’s should be encouraged to listen, ask questions and challenge things that they do not agree with.
Active participation can be used to support all aspects of an individual’s preferences and needs because the individual will have a big say in how their care and support is provided. When an individual is encouraged to take an active role in planning their support they are better able to live the life that they choose in the way that they want. This can result in more opportunities to get involved with activities and social interactions which can lead to better health and wellbeing, more self-confidence and more independence.
Active participation is a way of working that recognises an individual as an active partner in their care and support by acknowledging that they have the right to participate in activities and relationships of everyday life however they wish and as independently as possible. It promotes the rights, independence and choice of the individual.
You are later asked to speak to another social worker who has had difficulties helping an individual using the service to make choices and to challenge decisions they don’t agree with. There is a suspicion that the social care worker has also been trying to impose their own views on the individual.
In the role play or written account, you must:
Civ Describe a range of approaches to help individuals make informed choices.
Cv Describe different ways to help an individual challenge decisions made by others (such as medical practitioners, social care workers and family members)
Cvi Explain the possible consequences if the personal views of others (such as medical practitioners, social care workers and family members) are allowed to influence the choices an individual makes.
This written account will describe a range of approaches for helping individuals make informed choices, help them to challenge decisions made by others and explain the consequences that the personal views of professionals may influence an individual’s decisions.
There are a range of approaches that can be used to ensure that an individual is able to make informed choices. First and foremost, you should ensure that they are given all the relevant information in an unbiased manner. It is also useful to communicate this information in a manner that will aid their understanding, such as by using pictorial aids. Discussing the options with the individual gives them the opportunity to ask any questions they may have and guidance from friends and family can also help. For some individuals, an advocate can be used to speak on their behalf.
Individuals have the right to challenge decisions made by others, whether it be a family member or professional (such as their GP or support worker). Individuals should be encouraged to ask questions and make comments about decisions. They should know that they can ask for a second opinion from an alternative professional or speak to a senior member of staff or a manager. If they are not happy with something, they should be advised that they can use the complaints procedure.
If a professional allows their own personal views to influence an individual’s choices, it reduces the amount of choice the individual has and could lead to their needs not being met. It could cause more stress for the individual, lower self-esteem and less motivation because they may feel that they are not in control of their own lives.
You are a senior social care worker and have been asked to mentor a colleague who is finding it difficult to understand the importance of obtaining consent from individuals receiving a service.
In the role play or written account, you must:
Ci Describe the different factors that might affect an individual’s ability to express their view.
Cii Explain different ways of gaining consent to activities or actions.
Ciii Explain what to do if the social care worker cannot gain consent or is unsure of the response.
This written account will explain the importance of gaining consent from an individual, how consent can be gained and what to do if consent is not given.
Gaining consent before giving care is extremely important in an adult social care setting, not only because it is a legal requirement but also because it demonstrates respect for the individual, develops trust and because it is easier to provide care to someone that is willing to accept it.
An individual’s ability to express their view could be compromised by several factors. Firstly, they may not have the mental capacity to make an informed choice or may be unable to communicate verbally. They may have physical disabilities that make communication difficult. There may be language barriers, for example with an individual that doesn’t speak English or the individual may not have been given enough information to make an informed choice.
Consent can be given in many different ways. Primarily, verbal consent will be used after the caregiver has explained what they are going to do and requested permission to do it, however an individual may consent with gestures, such as nodding or using sign language. Written consent can also be obtained, or for individuals that do not have the mental capacity to give consent themselves, an advocate can give consent on their behalf.
Care should not be given if consent is not obtained, or even if you unsure if the individual has given consent. You should seek guidance from senior staff or from the individual’s family or advocate and document that consent was not given.
Care and support plans are extremely useful for supporting person-centred values because it contains a plethora of information about an individual’s needs and preferences. It explains in detail exactly how the individual wants to receive their support so that is in line with their wishes.
It is a working document so can any changes to an individual’s situation or their preferences can be documented and their support altered accordingly.
As it is written in collaboration with the individual, it documents their own choices as well as advice from health and social care professionals that work in partnership to produce a plan that is bespoke to the individual.