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Demonstrate positive approaches to risk assessments

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft’ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to demonstrate how you work with service users, their family and colleagues to adopt a positive approach to risk assessment.

As discussed previously, a positive approach to risk assessment means ensuring that the benefits of taking risks are weighed against an individual’s safety. This ensures that your organisation is not too risk-averse by taking into account the positive outcomes from taking risks.

For example, a young adult with a physical condition that makes them unsteady on their feet will have the risk of falling over when walking. A risk-averse solution may be to ensure that they remain strapped into their wheelchair at all times. Although this mitigates against the risk of them falling over, it also restricts their freedom and independence and makes them reliant on others. In addition, it would be considered as a restrictive intervention and abuse. A more person-centred and positive approach to the risks would be to let the adult decide when they wish to walk and when they wish to use the wheelchair and provide other mobility devices, such as a walking frame, to ensure that they can maintain their independence.

Your organisation’s positive approach to risk assessment should consider several aspects, some of which are explored below.

Manages policies and procedures and their implementation to assess and manage risks effectively

Organisational policies and procedures must use a positive approach to risk assessment to ensure that an individual’s rights are not compromised. They should also guide staff on how to conduct risk assessments that enable the individual to exercise choice and be involved in the process. As a manager, you will need to monitor the implementation of policies and procedures to ensure that they are being adhered to.

Balances individual choice with the duty of care to protect

Care providers have a duty of care to protect service users from harm, however, they also have a duty to promote choice and uphold an individual’s rights. This can lead to dilemmas and tension when performing risk assessments. A positive approach towards risk assessment that weighs up both the risks and benefits can help to ensure a good balance between safety and rights.

Ensures positive outcomes for individuals in receipt of services

A positive approach to risk-taking can contribute towards positive outcomes for an individual because they will be empowered to have as much choice and control as possible in their lives and will be involved in the risk assessment process.

Enables positive risk-taking in support of the individual’s wellbeing

An individual’s wellbeing should always be considered when assessing risks. Actions that we put in place to mitigate the risk of harm to them could have a detrimental effect on other areas of their lives and drastically reduce their quality of life. For example, if a DoLS standard authorisation is applied for to prevent an individual with dementia from leaving their care home, they may not be able to meet up with friends and so lose opportunities for social interaction and emotional support. Their physical and mental health could also be affected. So, these things must be considered during the risk assessment process.

Acknowledges and considers the views of family members and colleagues whilst recognising the right of the individual to have control over their own life

Partnership working is an essential component of providing safe and effective care and so we must request and consider several viewpoints during the risk assessment process. Collaborators will include the service user and may also include their family or carers, team members and other healthcare professionals. Ultimately, however, the individual themselves has the right to have control of their own lives and make their own choices (unless they are assessed to have diminished mental capacity).

Acknowledges and manages the link between the management of concerns and complaints, risk management and safeguarding

We have previously discussed the importance of safeguarding individuals and this should form part of the risk assessment process. We must ensure that the risk to vulnerable individuals from harm and abuse is minimised as much as possible.  Acknowledging and addressing concerns and complaints can contribute towards safeguarding because there will be open channels for service users, staff and others to communicate that they feel that something is not right.

Assessment criteria

Learners demonstrate how they work with service users, family members and colleagues to adopt a positive approach to risk assessment which:

  • Manages policies and procedures and their implementation to assess and manage risks effectively
  • Balances individual choice with the duty of care to protect
  • Ensures positive outcomes for individuals in receipt of services
  • Enables positive risk taking in support of the individual’s wellbeing
  • Acknowledges and considers the views of family members and colleagues whilst recognising the right of the individual to have control over their own life
  • Acknowledges and manages the link between the management of concerns and complaints, risk management and safeguarding
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