The silhouette of an individual jumping between two cliff edges to represent risk-taking

Explain why risk taking can be part of a person-centred approach

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

Risk-taking is something that we all have an active role in within our daily lives and just because somebody is being cared for, it does not mean that their right to make risky decisions should be denied.

We should all be working in a person-centred way, which means respecting the rights, values and beliefs of the individuals we support even if we dot necessarily agree with them ourselves.

As part of a person-centred approach, we should be promoting as much as possible the individual’s right to make their own choices. Taking away these rights is unlawful under the Human Rights Act and could constitute abuse.

With any decision, especially important ones, there may be an element of risk. It is part of our role to ensure that the individuals we care for have all the data they need to make an informed choice and then helping them to minimise the risks as much as possible.

For example, if you are supporting an individual that has a girlfriend but wants to secretly ‘cop-off’ with other women behind her back, you may work with them to help them understand the risks and the potential consequences of their actions. You may explain:

  • You may upset your girlfriend if she finds out
  • Your girlfriend will probably dump you if she finds out
  • Your friends/family may be disappointed in your actions
  • You could get a bad reputation
  • You may find it harder to get another girlfriend if others know that you have cheated

As long as the individual has the capacity to understand the possible repercussions of their actions, as a care worker we cannot prevent them from making the decision to be promiscuous even if it goes directly against our own beliefs.

Everybody has the right to make their own decisions (even unwise ones).

Example question and answer

Give two ways that a risk assessment can support the right of an individual using the service to take risks and make choices.

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.