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Explain why it is important to work in a way that embeds person-centred values and describe how to put them into practice

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All care workers should provide care and support that is underpinned by person-centred values – values such as respect, dignity, privacy, independence, partnership, individuality, rights and choice must influence all aspects of health and social care practice.

So, care workers should understand how to integrate a person-centred approach into their day-to-day work and why it is important.

How person-centred values influence health and social care

Working with person-centred values involves putting the individual that is receiving care at the centre of their own care provision and ensuring that they receive a service that fits around them rather than them having to try and fit into an existing rigid service.

Historically, the provision of care has not been person-centred. Some examples include:

  • Everybody going to bed at the same time
  • Individuals being told when they can and cannot eat
  • Individuals only being allowed to access the local community at set times

This kind of care provision does not take into account each individual’s values, wishes and preferences and, nowadays, would be illegal because it contravenes their basic human rights and freedoms. It would be considered institutional abuse (see the Safeguarding Unit for further information about this).

A person-centred approach involves treating the individual that receives care as an equal partner in their care provision and ensuring that they are listened to and have input in any decisions that are made about their care. It is also important to identify what is important to an individual receiving care so that their care package can be tailored to incorporate their unique needs and preferences.

By utilising a needs-led (individual-focused) approach to care rather than a service-led (provider-focused) approach, individuals can maintain their identity, values and self-esteem, contributing to an improved sense of well-being.

Why person-centred values must influence all aspects of health and social care

A person-centred approach to health and social care has several advantages:

  • It reduces the likelihood of abuse
  • Individuals will be more independent and have more control over their lives
  • It improves the overall well-being of individuals – they will feel valued and respected
  • It means that care workers work in accordance with the law
  • It contributes to the delivery of high-quality care that meets expected standards

If care is provided in a way that does not encompass person-centred values, it can leave individuals feeling frustrated, worthless and angry and can lead to low self-esteem, low self-confidence and poorer overall well-being. It can also leave individuals susceptible to abuse or neglect.

Example question and answer

Your work is running a campaign to improve staff understanding of all aspects of person-centred care.

You have been asked to create the following materials:

  • A poster that describes a range of person-centred approaches to care
  • A hand out which explains why person-centred values are important and how they influence social care work

PERSON-CENTRED APPROACHES POSTER

Click here to view the Person-Centred Approaches Poster (PDF Format)

PERSON-CENTRED VALUES IN SOCIAL CARE HANDOUT

Why Are Person-Centred Values Important?

Person-centred values are of the utmost importance in social care because they put the individual at the heart of their support.

It is based on the premise that an individual is an expert in what support they require and should work closely with health professionals and others, including their family, relations and friends, to devise the support plan that is best for them.

Person-centred values include:

  • Individuality – Everyone is an individual with their own needs, goals, beliefs and values.
  • Choice – Everyone should be free to make their own choices in life and be given the information they need to make decisions in a way that they can understand.
  • Independence – Everyone should be empowered to do as much as possible for themselves.
  • Rights – Everyone has human rights that should be respected and upheld.
  • Privacy – Everyone has the right to their own private space and time, and their private information should only be shared on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
  • Dignity – Everyone deserves to be treated in a dignified way,
  • Respect – Everyone should have their thoughts, opinions and beliefs respected even if others do not agree with them.
  • Partnership – Everyone involved in an individual’s care should work together to achieve the best possible outcomes. This includes the individual, their families and health professionals.

How Do Person-Centred Values Influence Social Care Work?

Regarding adult care work, person-centred values should be used to ensure that the care and support an individual receives is unique to their needs and that they are at the centre of the decision-making process.

Individuals should not be required to fit in with a ‘one size fits all’ system. They should not have to change the way they live to get support; the service provider should change their way of working to fit in with the individual.

The personal beliefs and opinions of the individual should be respected, even if employees of the service provider disagree with them.

Similarly, any decisions that an individual makes should be respected, and they should be given the support to follow through with their decisions even if employees of the service provider deem them to be unwise or they go against their own personal beliefs.

Service providers must get to know the individuals that they are supporting to understand and provide the support that they need. As well as communicating with the individual, the service provider can get information from the individual’s family and friends as well as other health and social care professionals.

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