The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) defines person-centred values as:
Promoting person-centred values means carrying out your role in a way that respects the people you work with so that they can live the life that they choose to.
Essentially, person-centred values are values that have the individual at the core. In an adult health and social care setting, the individual would be the adult that is being supported.
The individual should be considered an expert adviser in the management of their support plan – no-one knows or understands their particular needs, desires, likes, preferences, wishes etc. more than they do themselves!
Sometimes, particularly in the past, care packages have been put together out of convenience by the provider and without the collaboration of the individuals who receive the support. However, this can lead to care packages that are not suitable for the individual – even the most well-meaning care worker can get it wrong if they do not consult with individual.
Old-fashioned views and opinions consider that individuals with learning disabilities, mental health conditions, dementia and other illnesses that affect cognition are unable to make sound choices for themselves and that others are needed to make decisions on their behalf be it family, social workers, care workers etc. Whilst there are still cases where others must act in the best interest of individuals (for example, if an individual is detained under the mental health act), on the whole most individuals are fully capable of making their own choices. And it is against the law for care workers to take away this right (see the Human Rights Act for further information).
Person-centred values are also about treating individuals with dignity and respect. Part of this, as stated above, is not restricting individuals from making their own choices (even if you do not agree with them yourself) but also encompasses communication, seeking consent, privacy and independence.
By working with person-centred values at the forefront of your practice, you can give the individuals you work with a better quality of life and help them to establish their own identity and raise their self-esteem.