March 18, 2021

Person-centred care planning: why does it matter?

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Imagine yourself 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years from now. What kind of care would you like to receive? 

Would you be happy to receive care that only focuses on what matters ‘for’ you and your health? Or would you rather receive care that considers and is mindful of all the things that matter ‘to’ you as well?

We know that sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate the two. That’s why we’ve created this quick article, to help you understand the basics of person-centred care planning, and give you some useful guidance to think about when it comes to care planning for your clients.

What is person centred care planning?

First of all, it’s important to describe what we mean when we talk about being person-centred. 

Personalised care planning isn’t a new concept and no doubt you’ve heard it before. The idea behind personalised (or person centred care) is to keep people to be at the centre of decisions about their care, and equip them with all the information they need to make decisions for themselves. 

Person centred care planning is also a CQC requirement. CQC Regulation 9 states: “People using a service have care or treatment that is personalised specifically for them. Providers must work in partnership with the person, make any reasonable adjustments and provide support to help them understand and make informed decisions about their care and treatment options, including the extent to which they may wish to manage these options themselves.”

(You can read the full regulation here). It’s also described in detail in NICE guidelines and throughout NHS best practice. 

It’s important to remember that person-centred care planning doesn’t always mean just looking at medical treatments. Instead, person centred care planning should stem from meaningful discussions, that help you to build a full and complete picture of a person. 

Why does person centred care planning matter?

Everyone deserves to have a say in decisions about their care and the ways they would like to be treated. They want access to information to help them make decisions and they want to understand their condition and have more confidence to manage it. 

And, every person you care for has a unique set of characteristics, preferences, needs and goals. Keeping this at the core means that you can develop care plans that are tailored to fit their needs and help to deliver the best care possible. 

Having the right discussions in your initial care planning assessments will help you uncover the kind of information that supports personalised care. Click here to download a template for person-centred care questions and strategies for effective conversations.

There are five main areas to consider when planning a person’s care. Not only should you take into account what matters for their health, like their medications and rehabilitation, you should think about the circumstances that influence their life and preferences. Factor in their emotional, economic, cultural and social circumstances. We’ll explain a bit about what to look for below:

Diagram showing the 5 care planning principles
Five key areas to take into account when planning care

Emotional circumstances

Beyond the day-to-day needs of a person you should consider their emotional wellbeing and how the care you provide can support it. Some people living with long term conditions may be prone to depression or isolation, so you should assess their risk as part of your initial and ongoing care planning. You should consider how you can assist with appropriate support groups, therapies or activities. 

Economic circumstances

It’s important to conduct financial assessments and address other economic circumstances that could impact a person’s health or ability to access information. Access to information is crucial when planning person-centred care so a person feels informed and able to make active decisions about the direction of their care. If a person has any issues with literacy or access to information, particularly when it comes to their support option, you should actively record this and factor in extra support to help them achieve their goals, and for your care to be truly person-centred.

Cultural circumstances

Preferences are the heart of personalised care-planning. Cultural circumstances can play a huge part in preferences and choices and can have a big impact on a person’s needs. If you don’t fully understand a person’s cultural circumstances and how this could affect the care you provide, it will be extremely difficult to plan truly person centred care. For some starting discussions to have around cultural impact, check out our blog on questions for care planning, here. 

Social circumstances

Social circumstances also have a direct impact on health and wellbeing. A person may need support to get outside more, attend local groups, expand their networks or access local facilities to ensure they avoid risk of isolation. Be sure to ask questions around family involvement, life history and current activities they’d like to continue. You should also think about how their housing or social care support affects their care.

Man with glasses stands in front of a shed, holding a tightening cable, wearing a grey boilersuit
Planning a person's care should take every element of their lifestyle, preferences and culture into account

Shifting the culture:

Personalised care planning requires you to think about ‘working with’ a person, instead of doing things ‘to’ a person. Understanding that the individual plays the central role and everything you do feeds into this can be a helpful way to think about care planning. 

This will require you to think about how you interact with individuals. It may require the development of new skills at basic or advanced level, such as motivational interviewing techniques.

Personalised care planning is about involving individuals in decisions about their care, supporting them to have confidence and control, and addressing their full range of needs.

Care planning should not only focus on what is important ‘for’ a person, but what is important ‘to them’

A person’s care plan should include their emotional, social, economic and cultural needs. 

A person plays the central role in their care, you are there to support them.

See birdie's care planning tool in action:

Want to see how birdie could help? Our care planning tools make recording meaningful conversations easy with digitised assessments that you can update in real-time. 

Chat with a Care Consultant today.

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