How we’re turning care-planning on its head

Karen Robinson, quality officer at Making Space, has been working on a project to help our employees truly understand what person-centred care planning means. After inviting our service users to get involved and take the lead on the project, Karen has used their inspired ideas, knowledge and feedback to enhance training for our staff.

“I wanted to give our employees a different perspective on what a care or support plan could look like if a service user completed it without any professional involvement at all,” she said.

“So, we asked a group of service users to come up with a range of fictional characters, who needed support.

“They had lots of fun creating some interesting characters, living with a variety of conditions, from bipolar disorder to diabetes. One character they named ‘Bill’ was living with with schizophrenia, type 2 diabetes, angina, alcoholism, an addictive personality and depression, alongside family and money worries.

“The next step was for the service users to develop their own care plans for their characters, working in small groups and without any input from us".

The exercise highlighted some major differences between care plans drawn up by care workers and service users. Studying the service users' own plans, it was found that the role of the support worker was significantly reduced. Another major difference was the greater importance placed on developing work and social interactions by the service users

Said Karen: "In essence, our service users were pointing out to us in no uncertain terms that there were many daily tasks they were capable of managing themselves, if they had the right kind of support in place.

"For example, instead of recording that Bill needed a support worker to do his shopping and prepare his meals, the service users wrote that Bill needed support to enable him to complete those tasks.

"It’s a subtle difference, but hugely significant, and it's the very crux of what person-centred planning is about" she said

The materials created in these sessions are now being used to deliver training throughout Making Space.

“This has been a hugely positive move forward for service users to write their own care plans, and our new training materials are really helping to make this initiative a success," said Karen

“We have already run sessions with our own in-house trainers and they are now taking our new approach out around our 150 plus services.

“A wonderful moment for me was the day a support worker looked at one of the assessments our service users did and said: ‘I cannot believe how different it is!’

“It appeared that there was a massive impact for staff upon realising that many people wanted to set their own achievable goals and the support worker was there to facilitate and support these achievements, not to set them.

“The obvious next step for us is be running these training sessions in partnership with service users.”

Service user Susan Colligan, from Liverpool, is right behind the new training. She said: “I think they’re looking to us for more information on how to help people. At the end of the day someone with a diagnosis knows more about what their needs are. They’re coming to us to get our experience”.