When it comes to the provision of care, there is a crucial question around the responsible risk taking. Who makes the decision about risks to be taken? The two most prominent options are external experts and people in social care services.
It can be argued that the individual receiving care and those closest to them bring a distinctive brand of knowledge to bear on the assessment of risk. Indeed, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) refer to people in receipt of social care services as “Experts by Experience” and a properly trained and managed, paid support worker can bring a wealth of experience to the process.
Thus, a joint approach supported by external experts and people in the circle of support will produce a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk. Using the pooled creativity of all involved is the best way to manage risk while enabling the person being supported to try new things. Moreover, this approach shares accountability if the outcome isn’t what was expected.
A person-centred risk approach alone, encompassing a positive vision of success cannot alter risk aversion in the support of individuals. One must also consider the immense cultural shift which is required to recognise that people in receipt of services have the right to take risks in their lives, and importantly, must be supported to do so.
Furthermore, the person supported must fully recognise and even expect that they will suffer the same setbacks and heartaches that we all do. This is part of the essence of a life fully lived.
It is yet to be seen how regulators and the courts will react to such an approach – one which enables people to make their own decisions and, like the rest of the population, make their own mistakes.
Shonagh Methven, Director of Learning, Quality and Risk Management.
This blog is part of a series on the topic of person-centred organisations and approaches. It is also tied in to the release of Creating Person-Centred Organisations, by Stephen Stirk and Helen Sanderson – which heavily features United Response.
If you are new to person-centred thinking, we have a series of videos in which our managing director explores different facets of the topic.
You can access the full playlist of videos on the United Response Youtube Channel.