How using a one-page profile to help someone communicate what is important to them at Christmas and what support they need, can lead to a happy festive period – and some good learning for support providers too.
Written by: Tracie Gudgeon
Fifty-seven year old Carol shared her bungalow with best friend Katie for many years. Both lively ladies, together they would love to chat and share stories or local gossip. But when Katie sadly passed away, Carol’s life changed. Not only was she grieving for her friend but she was also finding it hard living alone. Despite having a close family who regularly visited, carol was lonely.
Carol’s first Christmas without Katie was particularly difficult. Carol loved Christmas, her birthday is in the festive season and she was named Carol for that reason. But she wasn’t her usual bubbly self and her family worried that she seemed very flat.
When I was asked to carry out a review with Carol, her family and support workers we talked about how important it was for Carol to have a happy Christmas to look forward to and that we needed to understand how best we could support her in that. Someone suggested that we helped her to write a Christmas one-page profile that could be shared with her family and friends so that everyone knew how to help make it a happy occasion.
Together, Carol and her senior support worker sat down and thought about what was important to her and how we could ensure good support at Christmas. The plan was very detailed and even considered who in her team was the best cook. There is nothing worse than a badly cooked turkey at Christmas! During this time Carol was also introduced to Molly, a lady who was interested in living in the same village. In the lead up to Christmas, Carol and Molly got to know and like each other and on the 21st December Molly moved in. This turned out to be the best present Carol could have wished for.
The one-page-profile was really important to Carol as it supported her to have exactly the Christmas she wanted. A great deal of learning took place for us as a provider too. We realised that far too often we organised Christmas rotas based around what we wanted; when we wanted to go Christmas shopping or when we wanted to work, without thinking enough about who the person we support wants in their home on such a special day.
Carol shared her Christmas one-page profile with her family; this gave lots of reassurance and helped them to celebrate it in the way that made her happiest.
Carol and her new friend Molly had a good Christmas together and are already looking forward to this years..