A brightly coloured individual on a pedestal surrounded by a ring of other individuals representing a definition of person centred values

Find out the history, preferences, wishes and needs of individuals and use them to apply person-centred values in day-to-day work

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

A person-centred approach means putting the individual that is receiving care at the centre of their care provision and collaborating with them to design a bespoke care package that works for them and takes into account their history, preferences, wishes and needs.

Therefore, it is essential to involve the individual that is receiving care in the planning process from the outset.

By communicating with the individual, you can identify their specific needs and preferences and use this information in the development of their care plan. This should be used in conjunction with other sources of information such as from the family or close friends of the individual, other professionals that know the individual well (e.g. social worker, community nurse, psychologist etc.) and any existing documentation such as health files, Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting minutes or transition notes from their previous care provider.

Doing the research before creating a care plan allows you to gain a deeper insight into what the individual needs and you can develop it so that it is tailor-made to the individual’s requirements. It also means that the individual will have more control over their care provision resulting in higher self-esteem and well-being.

It is important to understand that an individual’s care plan is dynamic and should be updated as and when an individual’s needs, wishes and preferences change. It should also be regularly reviewed with the individual to identify any changes that need to be made.

You can demonstrate person-centred values that take into account an individual’s history, preferences, wishes and needs in your day-to-day work by conversing with them and ensuring they are happy with the actions and tasks you are completing. You may also be able to make suggestions about how a particular task could be performed better and ask them if they would be happy to try out the new method.

Example questions and answers

Explain how finding out about an individual’s history, preferences, wishes and needs are an important part of creating a good care or support plan.

To create a good Care & Support Plan, it is essential to gain as much information as possible about the individual. This can be gathered from their friends, family, other relations and health professionals, such as their doctor, psychologist and social worker. However, the most important person to converse with is the individual themselves as they are the experts in their needs, wishes and preferences.

All individuals have the basic rights of choice, dignity and respect so understanding the person means that you can develop a support plan that is tailor-made to their requirements.

If you do not take the time to really get to know the individual and have them actively contribute to their own care plan, it is unlikely that the support you provide will be useful to them. Individuals will be much more likely to accept and adhere to a care plan that they have had an active role in creating.

By knowing about an individual’s history, you may be able to identify the causes or triggers of previous incidents and add safeguards/interventions to the care plan to prevent the issues re-occurring.

Explain why it is important to review care or support plans with an individual, and to monitor their changing needs or preferences.

Care and Support plans are working documents and should be updated regularly to fit in with the changing needs of the individual.

Each individual has constantly changing needs and wishes so their care plan should be flexible. For example, an individual may decide that they want to go out clubbing until the early hours every Saturday, which could result in changes to their support workers shift patterns – perhaps they need more hours so that staff can accompany them to clubs or less hours because they go to the clubs with friends and support is not required for that time period.

All individuals have the right to live their life as they choose and their decisions must be respected by the support staff.

In my setting, support plans can be changed by any member of staff as and when the needs of the individual changes. They do this by writing in the support plan. In addition, every three months, the support plan is reviewed by senior staff members and any changes that have been made over the quarter are typed up as well as any new information added. This is done in collaboration with the individual and, where necessary, their family and other health and social care professionals.

Only by keeping the support plan updated and by regularly reviewing it can an individual get the correct support they need for their current needs and preferences.