Be able to implement and promote active participation

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

Active participation is the practice of promoting individuals to participate in activities and relationships as independently as possible.

This means involving each individual as much as possible in the planning and provision of their care and encouraging them to make choices for themselves. Individuals should be active partners in their own care and support rather than passive recipients.

As well as ensuring each individual is involved in their own care, active participation can be applied by encouraging them to do as much as they can for themselves. For example:

  • Washing themselves
  • Preparing their own meals
  • Planning days out and other activities
  • Socialising with others

Sometimes, especially historically, care workers can do too much for the individuals that they support, which can stifle their independence and have a negative impact on their wellbeing. If an individual is unnecessarily having everything done for them then it can affect their self-worth and confidence. Of course, this should be balanced with an individual’s ability to perform tasks as highlighted below:

  • If an individual can something themselves, they should be encouraged to do so
  • If an individual can do part of a task, they should be encouraged to do as much as they can for themselves and care workers will support them to do the rest
  • If it is not possible for an individual to do something, then care staff will probably need to do it for them

When planning an individual’s care and support, it is imperative that the individual themselves are involved in the process to ensure that their own needs, wishes and preferences are taken into account. Other stakeholders may also need to be involved in this process such as the individual’s family/friends, health professionals and social workers however everyone, including the individual receiving, should be treated as equal partners.

By involving the individual, the care-planning process will gain invaluable insights into what that particular individual requires to maintain a high level of wellbeing and reach their potential. For example, simple things like at what time they like to eat or whether they prefer to have a bath or a shower can make a big impact in their quality of life.

The holistic needs of an individual are everything that they require to achieve and maintain a good quality of life. This can include aspects of life such as physical health, mental health, social interactions, spiritual needs and emotional needs.

Active participation addresses an individual’s holistic needs because they have choice and control about how their whole care and support package is planned and delivered, resulting in increased independence, self esteem, self confidence and ultimately wellbeing. They will feel valued, know that they have a voice and increase the all-round levels of care. Active participation also reduces the likelihood of an individual coming to harm or suffering from abuse or neglect because they are more likely to speak up about things that they do not feel are right and will have more of an understanding about their rights. As they will be more active, their physical health will benefit and being with others in social environments can positively affect their mental health and reduce the chances of social isolation.

As well as working in a person-centred way and encouraging active participation yourself, it is important that you are able to promote this way of working to others by explaining the reasons for working in this way and the benefits it provides.

Primarily you will be promoting this to your colleagues but you may also need to explain this to others, such as the family of an individual receiving care. Sometimes families may think they know what is best for an individual, even though this is in conflict with what the individual themselves want so you may be required to explain to them the value of empowerment.

You can promote active participation to your co-workers by modelling best practice and challenging any bad practice that you encounter. You can teach others informally either ad-hoc or as their mentor. Some members of staff may also benefit from additional training.