The importance of being involved

An example of how using a theme for a one-page profile can help capture the imagination of the person producing it and those using it. This story shares how an avid football supporter is assisted to have a better understanding of his support team and them to him, by producing a one-page profile.

Written by Sarah Macey

Bob's one-page profile

Bob’s one-page profile

Bob is a 57 year-old man with an insatiable passion for football. A season ticket holder and an avid fan, Bob loves everything about Nottingham Forest FC. Bob has a learning disability and has lived in the same residential service for over 20 years.  He has an understanding of his needs and is able to verbalise his immediate desires, although bigger concepts are more challenging.

Over the years Bob has had several similar versions of the one-page profile.  These were usually initiated by new support staff wanting a simple, positive introduction to Bob’s personality without focusing on his disability. More recently the team felt that the one-page profile would assist Bob better if he had greater involvement in producing it. They felt strongly that Bob could and should help design it, which in turn would ensure that they were supporting him in the way that he wanted.

Bob is rarely interested in paperwork but immediately became interested in the profile when staff presented it in a football theme. This was the first step in encouraging his involvement and getting him to start to talk about what was important to him.

Bob used to live with his elderly parents.  Ever since moving into the residential service, Bob has struggled to comprehend the roles of support staff and the boundaries that exist, making references to ‘servants’ and ‘friends’. Using the one-page profile Bob made a correlation between his favourite football team and the support team in his service, this has helped in his understanding of roles significantly.  Bob was asked which role he would personally like to have; he chose to be the owner of the club.  The (staff) team are viewed as there to try their hardest for his club, whilst the manager’s role is to get the best out of the team and occasionally show a yellow or red card if a player (staff member) commits a foul.  Senior managers/auditors are described as fourth officials.

The new one-page profile has had an unexpected outcome for Bob. Because the football theme captured his imagination so well, it has led to him understanding the roles of everyone associated with his service, when before he did not.  Even more importantly for Bob, the profile has emphasised his passion for football.  Not only are the existing staff team more aware of this, but new staff members joining the service immediately know about the importance of Bob’s hobby across his whole life.

Having a one-page profile based on his favourite football club appeals hugely to Bob.  The familiar terms used have helped his understanding of how the staff team are structured and the roles held  by each person.  To staff, Bob is seen as a unique person with a significant social activity that helps to define his life.