December’s guest blog comes from Susan McGregor, Personalisation Officer, CrossReach. Susan shares some of her thoughts around the importance of personalisation in ensuring people are in control of their own care. For resources and reading materials on Personalisation and Self-Directed Support visit our Inform section: http://www.socialcareforum.scot/inform/personalisation-and-self-directed-support
Personalisation and Self Directed support is more than a government strategy or set of rules we have to follow. Personalisation of service is about a way of being, an approach, a way of working that ensure the people we serve are at the heart of every decision that is made.
Personalisation is seeing people as the assets that they are with a wealth of knowledge, gifts and abilities and lived experience that they can bring to the table to help services lead and design services for people, with people.
People tend to focus on the mechanism that is Self-Directed support and are concerned with how they will manage services if people have cut budgets or they are in control of budgets and can very much worry about how people with diminished capacity can make important decisions. The reality is that while the process of Self Directed support allows people to take more control over how their budget is spent and empowers them to make decisions about how and when they will get support, we don’t need this process alone to ensure that our services are person centered and where people can have that empowerment and control over services now.
When people employ our services it is their service, commissioned by them and for them. They did not lose the right to make decisions, or contribute or to be listened to, just because they needed to use our service, we are not operating prison like rules. If we think of people first and foremost as being valuable and who can make a contribution regardless of how prescriptive the service has to be, then we have a good start to making our services truly personal.
We need to look upon the people we serve not as problems or issues that need to be solved and risks that need to be managed, but we need to see them more as contributing human beings and citizens who have a basic human right to freedom of choice and control over their own lives.
Personalisation requires us to change our language towards the people we serve. Rather than saying “we are someone to the doctors”, we need to think more about saying, “we are to the doctors”. People may say this is a play on words, but if you truly mean what you say, it makes you see the person you support differently. It makes you see the person as an equal in an unequal society, you are walking side by side in their
journey of support and care and not imposing ideas that fit the service onto them.
We need to fit our service/groups to suit the needs, wishes and aspirations of the people we serve and see them as equal, contributing partners in their support. People using our services need to be leading the change and leading the services we offer as part of a co productive and inclusive society. People want to be an integral part of their community, using community facilities and having the choice and say in how services and groups should be run. When we adopt the principal of personalisation we need to think of how we would want to be included, listened to, having our say and most of all feeling like a valued contributing member of society.