To be successful in implementing person-centred thinking, planning and reviewing requires commitment, tenacity and the ability to ‘think outside the box’. At the heart of the process is the client that you are supporting and it is your responsibility to help them reach their goals and achieve their dreams, sometimes using innovative ideas to lead to success. And if one idea fails, it is important to have the resilience to not give up and keep trying.
Challenges can come in myriad forms.
The family/friends of a client may be overprotective or disagree with the desires of the individual. Although family, friends and relations may be well-meaning and play an important part in the support a client needs, it is important to remember that it is the client’s choice about what they want to do with their lives and your job to support them in doing it. You may have to explain this to family and should do it in a sensitive and empathetic manner. Or, if the client themselves is able to speak to their family about this, you should explain that it is their choice what they do and they may need to weigh up the pros and cons of doing so with upsetting their family.
Practically Difficult or Impossible
Some things may be too dangerous or difficult for a client to participate in. For example, a client may wish to get their driving licence and buy a car but not have the physical capability to learn to drive. Of course, you should look into whether it would be possible for the individual to learn to drive and maybe have external assessors meet them to make a decision but it may be that this is not an option. You could then tell the client that getting a driving licence is impossible but they could still buy a car, maybe under the motability scheme, and their care staff or family could drive them around in it.
A client may want to go to a night club but there is a real risk of them having an epileptic seizure from the lights. In this case, you may look at specialised discos for people with epilepsy that do not have flashing lighting. Or it may be that they very rarely get seizures, in which case it may be worth risk-assessing the activity and having a contingency or safeguards in place just in case they have a seizure (for example having a member of staff accompany them).
A client may be indecisive and express a desire to do something one day and be totally against it the next. This can make person-centred planning very difficult as the wishes and plans of the individual would be constantly changing. By working with the client regularly, conversing with them and getting to know them well, you may learn to distinguish real long-term goals from flitting whims and only pursue the objectives that they regularly discuss whilst discarding the rest.
Lack of Interest
If a client is lethargic and appears to have no interest in planning their future, it is important to talk to them about the reasons why it is a good thing and encourage them to take some responsibility for their goals in life. It may be that the individual really does have no interest in achieving anything other than participating in the same routine every day until the day they die – and this is their choice – but it is a support workers job to try to motivate and offer opportunities that the individual may not be aware existed.