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Explain how risk assessment processes can be used to support the right of individuals to make their own decisions

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

Risk assessments are a legal requirement when an individual is making a risky decision or new actions or activities are being introduced. They are intended to help the individual and yourself identify and assess the potential risks so that an informed decision can be made. They directly ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of the individual and others.

The risk assessment process involves the following steps:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Identify who may be harmed and why
  3. Evaluate the risks and take precautions to remove or minimise them
  4. Record this information on a risk assessment and implement the plan
  5. If and when necessary, review and update

Completing a risk assessment supports the right of individuals to make their own decisions because they have all the information that is needed to make an informed choice. It also helps identify and remove or minimise any risks to the individual or others as a result of their decisions.

An individual’s care plan will usually contain several risk assessments that you should familiarise yourself with so that you can provide person-centred care in a safe way.

An example of supporting choice through risk assessment

For example a vulnerable adult may decide that they want to start playing Sunday League football. You should support them as much as possible to do this, however you would first work with them on a risk assessment so that they can play football safely.

You would identify the hazards – football is a physical contact sport, so there is always a risk of injury. There may also be a risk to the individual of getting lost between their home and the football pitch, as well as a risk of being manipulated by unscrupulous people.

There is probably not a lot that can be done about getting injured – that is one of the inherent risks that all football players have – however, this should not stop the individual from participating. They have the right to take risks if they want to.

The risk of getting lost or being taken advantage of could be reduced greatly by ensuring that the individual has support staff to take them to and from games and training.

This would be documented in a risk assessment and the individual would make the choice if they still wanted to play football now they are aware of all the risks.

After a few months, it could be that the individual makes several friends on the football team who understand that they are vulnerable and look out for them. A team mate may even offer to take the individual to and from games and training. At this point, the risk assessment could be reviewed and it may be decided that they no longer require support staff to accompany them.