Putting People First: The Importance of a Person-Centred Approach to Social Care

What is person-centred care? 

A person-centred approach to social care means providing people with support that places their needs, preferences, goals and overall wellbeing at the core of the care process. Whether in a learning disability, mental health or older people’s service, person-centred care recognises the unique nature of each individual and aims to empower and encourage them to actively participate in decisions regarding their care and support.  

This way, the person supported is not merely a recipient of care, but a key decision maker in what that care might look like and how it’s provided.  

Hear more from Sarah Hearne, Locality Manager at Ambient, about what person-centred support means.

Respecting individuality  

This approach also emphasises respect for a person’s autonomy and personal fulfilment. At Ambient, we value the right for the people we support to make decisions about their own life, health and wellbeing. There are several ways to ensure that individuality is respected, including:  

  • Informed decision making: Ensuring that people supported have access to the relevant information needed to make informed decisions about their care.  
  • Respecting choices and rights: Acknowledging that everyone has different preferences, priorities and goals and respecting their rights to privacy and dignity. This means avoiding making decisions on behalf of a person without their consent, unless legally required or in the person’s best interest.  
  • Supporting independence: Encouraging people to be as independent as possible and overcome any challenges they may face. They are supported to have control over daily activities, get involved in the community, and to practice key life skills such as cooking, cleaning and maintaining a home.  
  • Appreciating diversity: At Ambient, we recognise and respect cultural diversity in the people we support and tailor their care with culture, beliefs and values at the forefront.  
  • Listening and involvement: Caregivers actively listen to a person’s concerns and seek their input when planning their care. As a care organisation, we prioritise co-production with experts by experience and use these insights to better inform our decisions across the board. (Image of guardians)  
  • Empowerment: Empowering people by giving them some ownership over their care, which promotes a positive care experience and a greater sense of well-being.  

By upholding these principles, the people we support are placed in the centre of their care and are enabled to live purposeful, fulfilling lives of their choosing.  

What elements might make up a person-centred care plan? 

There are several potential elements that go into making a person-centred care plan, here are just a few examples. 

  • Assessment: A comprehensive assessment of the individual’s needs, preferences, strengths, and challenges. This assessment covers physical, emotional, social, and psychological aspects. 
  • Involvement: The individual receiving care is included in the planning process. Their voice is heard, and their preferences and goals are considered.
  • Realistic Goals: Specific and achievable goals may be set for the care plan, aligning with the person’s aspirations and potential areas for personal growth.  
  • Coordinating Services: When multiple caregivers or professionals are involved, it’s important that different services and personal budgeting (Also known as direct payments or Individual Service Funds) are properly coordinated.  Clearly defining roles and responsibilities also ensures seamless care delivery.  
  • Flexibility: An individual’s needs may change over time, and therefore a care plan needs to be flexible and adjustable. It should also be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect any changes.  
  • Cultural Sensitivity: This means taking a culturally respectful approach and considering a person’s background, beliefs, and values when designing support that is right for them.   

Communication and trust 

Open communication creates transparency and improves collaboration between caregivers, care recipients, and their families. This transparency helps everyone involved to have a clear understanding of the care being provided and whether there’s any changes in conditions or progress being made.  

Trust is key in a person-centred approach because when individuals trust their caregivers, they are more likely to feel safe. They may also feel able to confide in their caregivers with information about their health and well-being, which can lead to early detection and prevention of potential risks. People receiving social care may sometimes feel vulnerable or anxious, and trust and communication with those around them help to alleviate these feelings.

Family and circle of support  

If it’s in an individual’s best interest, then involving family and their circle of support in the care process can be beneficial and even enhance the quality of care received. Family members and close friends often have a deep understanding of the individual’s history, preferences, values, and needs. They can offer a more comprehensive view of the person, which helps in creating more effective care plans.  

Loved ones can also provide consistency and help maintain the routines and habits that contribute to the individual’s well-being. They can provide emotional support to an individual to ease transitions such as moving from hospital to a care setting or transitioning to a different level of care. 

Family members can advocate for the care recipient, especially when the individual is unable to express their preferences or needs, to ensure that the person’s rights and wishes are respected. 

Examples of positive person-centred care  

At Ambient, we have seen first-hand the positive impact that person-centred care has had on the individuals who use our services.  

The video below is about a supported living learning disability service in Staffordshire. Hear about how the service is an example of exceptional person-centred care.  

Learn more about The Ambient Way and how we provide person-centred care. 

Interested in a rewarding career in social care? Find out more about working with us. 

Learn more about The Ambient Way and our Values. 

Hear from Michael, who has autism, about being an Ambient support worker and providing person-centred care.

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