Feeling confident and positive with my son’s one-page profile

A wonderful example of how this mum’s experiences of taking her son to new activities has changed from something quite stressful and often negative to something positive that gives her confidence. George’s one-page profile has changed how people interact with him, communicate with him and think about him – making his involvement in the clubs and activities he loves so much easier than before.

George's one-page profile

George’s one-page profile

Written by mum Carole

My son George is eight years old. He lives at home with me and his dad and little sister who is five. He loves singing, running and playing computer games. George has a wide range of medical diagnoses and is considered to have a moderate learning disability. He communicates through a mixture of speech and makaton signing.

George is involved in lots of afterschool clubs and activities including swimming, gymnastics and cubs. We’ve always tried wherever possible to include him in mainstream versions of the things he wants to do but had realised for some time that there is often a need to educate people before they are prepared to let him join in. Just filling in the standard forms that come with these sorts of clubs can be a lengthy process involving lots of additional pages and lots of words that can confuse and scare people rather than actually telling them very much about what it is like to spend time with George, what support he needs and what he can give in return.

We decided that a good way to share the important information about George with other people would be to use a one-page profile. We started by thinking about the sorts of questions we usually have to answer about George. We then wrote another list of all the things we wish we could tell people about George and then we asked him what he wanted to tell people about himself. It was quite a job to reduce it to one page, but when we had managed it George chose a photograph of himself that he liked to go in the middle.

We sent it to all of the groups George was attending at the time and also copied it to the people who supported George at school and to those who help us to look after him; family, befrienders and babysitters. We took on board the comments made by the people who knew him well and created a revised version which we then sent back to school with him in the September to introduce him to the new staff. We now attach a copy with applications for every new activity and when someone new starts to support our family.

The first time we used George’s one-page profile was to support a lengthy application form for a church based holiday club that was run entirely by volunteers. I was delighted on the first day to see a photocopy of the one-page profile poking out of the pocket of the lady who had been allocated to George as his one-to-one! Whereas previously I would have been loathed to leave him for at least an hour whilst I ensured this new person had understood everything I wanted them to about George, I was happy to go much sooner as this lady already understood what made him tick. George really enjoyed pointing out the photograph in the middle of the page and told the lady all about where we were when the picture had been taken. This in itself helped me have the confidence that she could understand him well.

We have continued to use it in every similar situation. Most recently we used it on George’s first evening at Cub Scouts. Although he had been a Beaver before, none of those supporting George were making the transition with him, so on the first evening we turned up with George and his one-page profile. George chose a new photo for the middle which was of him in his Beaver uniform because he wanted them to know he had enjoyed Beavers. As I sat filling in the standard application form and asking for extra sheets of paper for all the medical information the Cub Leader read through the one-page profile. When I had finished he stapled the profile to the front of the standard form and said “This will be far more useful, so I think we’ll keep it on the top!”

I watched all sorts of things happen during that first meeting. George was included in a practise for Sports Day events and activities for the Health and Fitness Badge that they were all working towards as if he had been going there for months. At the end of the evening the cubs all stood in their horse shoe for the Grand Howl which is a short ceremony which includes the cubs shouting a response to their leader. When the others began to shout one of George’s new friends helped him to put his hands over his ears to prevent him becoming distressed by the sudden increase in noise…. and I hadn’t said a word!

Since we have had the one-page profile I have felt so much more confident and positive when I turn up somewhere new with George. What had previously been a predominantly negative experience has been turned around. I now know I can get across all the things I want to as well as the things I need to and include in this the things George wants people to know too. He is happy and settling into new activities quickly. He is regularly supported by volunteers and young people who have this information easily to hand.

One-page profiles for support and recovery

A practical example of how this team approached creating a one-page profile for Charlie following his second stroke.

Charlie's one-page profile

Charlie’s one-page profile

Charlie is a warm, friendly and kind guy. He is a family man, who is very determined to regain as much of his independence as possible after having his second stroke seven months ago. He has a ready smile, enjoys a joke and has a good sense of humour. He is a mechanic by profession.

Charlie has had two strokes as a result of having Lupus and has been attending Action for Independence for the last six months to regain his confidence, skills and mobility, after being referred by the Physical Disability Team. The team at Action for Independence wanted to make sure that they were focusing their support on the issues that mattered most to Charlie and so decided to produce a one-page profile with him.

Action for Independence is looking at how we can use Person Centred Thinking to help focus on what matters to people. This will help us as a team, to identify what support we can offer to help a person maintain, change, or move towards a lifestyle that now makes sense to them.  We wanted Charlie’s one-page profile to help us to have a conversation about the next steps to support his recovery.

To get started on this, one of the team members went back through the original referral that was made to the service and pulled out any information that told us about what is important to Charlie and what others need to know or do to best support him. She also wrote down a list of questions to be figured out from what she was reading. After this she took some coloured highlighter pens and went through the pages of on-going diary notes that had been recorded by the whole team about his progress and involvement in the service over the past months.  Coloured highlighters were used to illuminate anything she noticed about ‘what we like and admire’ about Charlie and what was ’important to him’.

The team member explained to Charlie what she was doing and why she wanted to take this approach to learn about him and support him well.  She did this over a cup of tea and she shared her own one-page profile with him so he could see how it worked. They talked for about 20 minutes, initially focusing the conversation on what made a good day and what made a bad day for Charlie both at the centre and at home.  They then looked at the appreciations section of the one-page profile and talked about what others liked and admired about Charlie.

At the end-of-day handover meeting for the team, the team member posted up flip chart sheets on the wall with the headings pre-written on them – ‘ Like and admire’, ‘Important to’, ‘How best to support’ and ‘Questions to answer’. She invited the team to grab a marker pen and for the next 10 minutes to write up all of the new things they had discovered about Charlie. She then shared what she had learnt from the notes and her conversation with him.  There was a strong level of agreement.

The team took note of the questions to answer and decided on which ones they could start to work on immediately.  Charlie’s one-page profile was written up using all this rich information to clearly communicate the essential information that everyone needed to know on one single sheet of paper.

After several weeks Charlie decided to reduce his days of attendance at Action for Independence to once weekly. He has been very successful in achieving his goals more independently and is ready to take his next steps. The team have been able to support him in this based on their rich insight into what is important to him and what good support looks like.

Understanding what is important to someone so you can support them well

An example of how this gentleman has developed new relationships with the people he lives with by sharing detailed information about himself on his one-page profile. As well as directing his own support and having a greater sense of choice and control in his life, Thomas has found things in common with the people he lives with that they can now talk about together.

Thomas' one-page profile

Thomas’ one-page profile

Peter  is 89 years old. He likes to be called by his middle name; Thomas. He did live in Rushall which is just outside Walsall but came to live here in 2011.  Thomas likes to be organised.  He likes his routine and in his own words is ‘very regimented’ in his ways – his main support needs are around mobility as he has to walk with two sticks.

We wanted to create a one-page profile with Thomas to help us understand him better as a person and not just someone who lives here. We wanted to find out about his individual wants and needs and not just what he does because it is the routine of the staff or the home.

Thomas has become less independent since moving here and because he was now more reliant on support staff it became crucial that we knew just how to support him in the right way. Thomas’s one-page profile would help us to achieve this.

Care Assistant Margaret and Thomas met in his bedroom. Margaret explained to Thomas what a one-page profile was and what it would do for him.

Thomas showed a great deal of interest in being involved and looked forward to having his photograph taken to use in display. Margaret initially spent about an hour with Thomas asking him questions about his background.

Thomas’s one-page profile is kept in his plan of care. It’s available for all staff to read. Thomas also keeps a copy for himself so he can read it and show it to his carers and visitors when they meet him. It has enabled staff to provide the appropriate level of support without altering Thomas’s regimented daily routine. Margaret regularly discusses the one-page profile with Thomas to see if it needs updating with new information

Since the completion of his profile, Thomas feels that he has more control in his life. He feels his needs are being met at a more personal level by staff. Prior to using his profile Thomas said that he was feeling that life was institutionalised but now he feels that his views about his level of care are acknowledged and listened to.

Thomas has always had good relationships with both staff and the other people he lives with but the one-page profile has highlighted new areas of his life that he has in common with people. He was in the Forces for years and he now sits at the table with another gentleman who also served, swapping stories and memories. These are new relationships developed because they know more about each other through their one-page profiles.

Capturing the past, present and future in a one-page profile

A powerful example of how a one-page profile has helped this man reconnect with his passions, improve his relationships and his communication. Ray’s family had become concerned about his health and wellbeing and after he was admitted to hospital, they asked for help to support him well.

Ray's one-page profile

Ray’s one-page profile

Written by Gill Bailey

Eighty year old Ray is full of life and enjoys the company of others. He is a jovial character and loves telling stories about his life experiences. Ray has lived in his first floor flat in Burnley for about 41 years.

When Ray was younger, he had lots of jobs such as working on the railways as a signal man and a train driver. Ray went into the Army for a time with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and travelled all over the world. He went to Normandy and takes great pride in this.

Ray has always been a very active and sociable man. He has lots of hobbies like collecting books, reading, music of all types and going to the Miners Club where his friend Harry used to take him every third Wednesday to meet up with all the ex-soldiers. They would have a few drinks and then Harry used to bring him home.

Over the last few years however it has become apparent that Ray has not been managing as well as he used to do at home. People were not visiting him as regularly and his home was becoming difficult to move around because he had taken to collecting and storing boxes of papers, books and magazines.

He was beginning to become socially isolated and wasn’t going out as often as he used to. He was not taking care of himself and his health was deteriorating both physically and mentally.

Ray’s family and friends became concerned that he wasn’t coping well, and needed some help to “get him back on his feet.” It was when Ray was admitted to Hospital due to poor mobility, confusion and water retention that a home person-centred review was arranged.  Ray, his son and daughter-in-law, his best friend Harry and support staff were all involved in the review. The aim was to bring together those people who knew Ray best and who could help him get his life back on track.

By developing a one-page profile we were able to capture the things that are important to Ray and more of the things that matter to him and that he wants to be in his life. This has helped in creating activities for Ray and plans to make his life better and more enjoyable and worth while.

It has given his family, friends and those close to him some ideas and plans on how to best support Ray and to identify the things that worked well for him.

During the review lots of very rich nuggets of information about what people knew about Ray and what mattered to him came to light. His past, present and his future were also discussed

Big changes have resulted from the review and the one-page profile. We recognised the need to do more work using communications charts and relationships maps to help Ray in these areas. We also identified the problems he was having in his home, keeping on top of cooking and cleaning and how his difficulty getting out had left him feeling lonely.

Ray has since moved into a sheltered housing scheme in Burnley. There are activities daily in the complex that Ray can get involved in and they have a book club in which they are looking at appointing a new member for the committee. They also have a local cookery class that is being run by the Volunteer Services who collect the group twice weekly and they go to the local community centre and regain confidence, motivation and skills in and around the kitchen so Ray can go back to his own flat in the complex and prepare meals for himself.

The complex provides lunch and evening meals daily, so Ray gets to go and mix with others and tell them his stories. Ray has a key worker who has been matched to him using his one-page profile and they have started visiting the Miners Club again every third Thursday and Harry meets them there for a drink.

Ray is much more relaxed, less frustrated and his life now has more meaning and purpose. He feels valued and he now offers others support. Ray is much more settled and appears happier in himself, smiling. laughing and joking with his new and old friends.




Dementia support using a one-page profile

An example of how a person living with dementia has used a one-page profile to communicate with support staff about how best to support him. Sidney was feeling embarrassed and sometimes threatened by the support he received. This story shows how his team captured and shared important information about Sidney to ensure he was supported in a way that made sense to him.

Sidney's one-page profile

Sidney’s one-page profile

Written by Support Worker Team Leader

Sidney, also known as Slim, is a very gentle man with a lovely voice. Originally from Jamaica, music has always been central to his life as long as it is upbeat. Now 83 years of age Sidney lives in Nuneaton in a residential service supporting people living with dementia

Sidney’s one-page profile was developed as he was becoming more distressed when being supported by staff with his personal care. Staff realised Sidney was distressed by the level of care he now needed due to decline in his cognitive responses.  Staff discussed with me and we used effective ideas to assist him so it was less stressful for him.

Sidney had become reluctant to get out of bed during the winter months. This is when he may become agitated and he may threaten staff. As we have cared for Sidney for many years, staff have experience, and understand his needs. We have used person-centred care and put into place a personalised care plan for Sidney, which caters for his needs and his likes, like having a radio in his room, have his clean clothes ready laid out ready for him to put on after his care.Staff who knew Sidney well had learned that everything must be warm when assisting him with his personal care. This included the room, your hands, towels, water, floor and creams. This made Sidney’s experience during personal care less distressing and it was this type of information that needed to be captured on a one-page profile so that others were able to support Sidney in the way that he liked.

I am a Team Leader where Sidney lives. I sat down with Gill from Helen Sanderson Associates, Sidney and three of the specialist support workers Peter, Lauren and Jackie, to produce the profile.

Since its production, all staff are using Sidney’s one-page profile to ensure they know and act on what matters to him on a daily basis. It means that Sidney is supported in a way that truly makes sense to him and so is happier accepting the support. It is the rich information on Sidney’s profile which ensures this. Because of his profile all team members now know that Sidney feels embarrassed when supported in the bathroom. They also know that playing music helps him to feel relaxed and that by preparing everything before entering the bathroom, the experience can be much quicker and Sidney feels happier as a result.

Previously if Sidney became upset a support worker might call for more staff to assist – having two or three people trying to assist him only made Sidney more distressed as it increased his fear.  Today, everyone knows this and knows how to ensure Sidney is supported well.

Since having his own one-page profile Sidney is much more likely to take help from staff and even thanks them for the support they offer him. He is much happier and is singing more than ever!

Finding ways to have positive conversations

An example of how this woman’s one-page profile has helped open up good conversations with her respite team so that they can support her well whilst away from her home.

Dorothy's one-page profile

Dorothy’s one-page profile

Written by Gill Bailey

Seventy-seven year old Dorothy comes to stay at the respite centre twice a year while her daughter has a break from her role as a full time carer. Dorothy has some very specific health needs and has asthma, heart problems, a hearing impairment and schizophrenia.

At just eighteen Dorothy got engaged to her husband who she sadly lost at a very young age and never remarried. Instead she concentrated on bringing up her children. She worked all her life from the age of fifteen up to her retirement. While the children were in school Dorothy worked jobs around school time, as they got older Dorothy worked longer hours as an machinist. Life was hard at times.

Whilst at respite we wanted to get to know Dorothy well, find out more about her so we could support her in the things she liked to do. Dorothy would often sit quietly alone and we hoped that by creating a one-page profile with her it might open up some positive conversations.

It did! Dorothy was very chatty about the holidays she enjoyed with her husband and children, Italy Payton and Margate. She also talked about her love of reading, she particularly likes the friendship book that is out at Christmas, she says it gives a lot of information about things that have happened over the years.  Dorothy also loves doing puzzles especially word searches. Of her time with us, she said that she enjoys her stays but is always happy to go home to her family. We created a one-page profile that communicated all the rich information we now knew about what was important to Dorothy and how best we could support her.

Dorothy is a very independent lady who likes her privacy and takes pride in her appearance, always immaculately dressed and turned out. Supporting her to look and feel her best is crucial to her wellbeing and so this is reflected on her one-page profile.

All staff are now much clearer about what works and what doesn’t work for Dorothy and her time with us is much more enjoyable for her as a result.

When you are new to a team: One-page profiles at work

An example of how this apprentice used her one-page profile to help her get the most out of her placement, communicating what support she needed and helping her team get to know her well and quickly.

Mollie's one-page profile

Mollie’s one-page profile

Written by May Lee

Mollie is an apprentice working with a team supporting people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. She had no experience of working with people with learning disabilities prior to beginning her work as an apprentice. Upon starting she immediately showed signs of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn as well as great communication skills. Mollie also attends college one day a week.

Mollie was supported to develop a one-page profile in order to develop her relationships with the new team she was coming into and help us understand what her learning and development needs were so that she could get the most out of her placement with us.

I explained the concept to Mollie who completed a first draft and we went through it together to develop it further. This was then shared with the rest of the support team working alongside Mollie so that everyone could understand how best to support her and make sure we all worked together.

Having the one-page profile has enabled Mollie to do more of what’s important to her. She went on an Intensive Interaction course which meant she was able to develop her relationships further with the people we support. She was then able to feedback not only to the team she was working with but also to other people at the forum. As a result of this she has attended several services team meetings to talk about Intensive Interaction.

The process of developing the profile helped us to understand Mollie better, but also gave Mollie the opportunity to reflect on what she wanted and allowed her to say what she wanted others to do in order to make the most out of her placement. One of the things Mollie said was to give her regular feedback on how she’s doing so that she can keep learning – we make sure we do this at least once a month so we keep it on the agenda.

It has been great watching Mollie grow and develop and I am confident that her one-page profile has empowered her during her apprenticeship with us.

Creating a powerful partnership

An example of how one-page profiles can help match people’s personalities and outlook on life to create a powerful partnership. Carlton matched his one-page profile with his team to help find the right person to support him.

Carlton's one-page profile

Carlton’s one-page profile

Written by: Dimensions

Carlton is a young and active man who shows a great determination to achieve.  Carlton does not use words to communicate and so it is important that the people around him understand him as a person and what he is expressing with his emotions and behaviour.

Carlton, who has a learning disability and some serious health related issues, is supported by social care provider Dimensions.  Carlton produced his first one-page profile with the help of his key worker, friends, family and the support team that knew him best. It was recognised that the people supporting him needed to know and understand him as an individual and everything that he has to offer and the one-page profile could help him to communicate this.

The foundations of his profile were built during Carlton’s first person-centred review, which looked at how Dimensions could best support Carlton as an individual based on his likes and dislikes and what he needed to be healthy and happy.

Carlton’s one-page profile provided the information that helped him and his team find the best staff match for him. It was essential that Carlton’s support staff had the right personality traits and approach. From his one-page profile it was clear that Carlton needed someone with a “can-do” attitude, someone who is active and observant and tender at times. He loves going on holiday twice a year and trying new things and he needed someone who would be patient and supportive of this. One support worker fitted the bill more than any other; Anna. Because Anna too had a one-page profile, which contained many of the things that Carlton looks for in a good support worker, it was easy to match them together. She is creative, energetic, motivated, loves to go out and treats people as individuals and with respect. She also views family as very important, something which she shares with Carlton. The combination of Carlton’s and Anna’s one-page profiles proved to be very useful.

Anna is confident and helps Carlton connect with others, empowering him to do more of what he has outlined as important to him on his profile. In particular, Carlton likes to try-out new things which is a great match for Anna as she loves a challenge. She wants Carlton to be the best he can be and together they have the skills and character traits to make it happen.

As well as being an excellent tool to help match the perfect staff member to Carlton, his one-page profile is a positive display of his gifts, skills and traits. It communicates what others value in him, something which helps new people connect and reminds the people closest to him what a special person he is.

One-Page profiles; ‘How things are done at Dimensions’

Written by Dimensions UK Chief Executive, Steve Scown

Steve Scown

Steve Scown

As someone who believes firmly in leading by example, I developed my one-page profile some time ago and asked my colleagues to help me. By engaging with them in this way I had to think more deeply than I had before about what I needed from the people around me and about what was really important for me, as opposed to a long nice-to-have list.

At Dimensions we have been working towards becoming a more person-centred organisation for a number of years. As one of the leading not-for-profit providers of care and support services, we have recognised the responsibility upon us not to only provide person centred services for the people with learning disabilities and autism we support, but also to share our learning across our sector and other industries. One-page profiles have proved to be an incredibly powerful tool in helping us fulfil both of these aspirations.

My own introduction to one page profiles came as a result of our work with Helen Sanderson Associates and their potential use across many aspects of our business was soon evident.

After I had completed my profile, it was posted on our website  along with profiles for our executive team and members of our board.  I have been struck by the number of companies who have remarked how useful these were in helping them understand how to engage more effectively with us as individuals and as a company. Recently a team of legal advisors bidding for our contract came along to the interview with their own one page profiles as a result of seeing ours on our website.

We have since this initial phase begun to use them right across the business as well as embedding them as a critical tool in how we support people. In short they have become recognisable as part of ‘how things are done in Dimensions’.

In our services they have enabled us to link people with similar interests. After all when being helped to bake a cake, it’s a much nicer to be supported by someone who loves cooking and baking as opposed to someone like me who regularly burns toast and whose passion is rugby.

In addition to their use in services we have more recently strived to get one-page profiles embedded in our business support departments. Visitors to our offices will find a file with the profiles of people who work in that office – this has helped people break the ice when meeting someone for the first time. Attaching links to profiles on our e-mail footers has also helped remotely based staff feel more conformable phoning people they haven’t met who work in our centrally based teams rather sending the usual e-mail query. Many of our business support teams have developed team profiles to help others understand ‘what makes them tick’.

As with most things that require a change in behaviour (individual or corporate) and which brings about material benefits it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Some people have had concerns re sharing personal information. I think the key here has been to help people remember they are in control of the information they share and that the aim is to help people connect more easily with them. In such busy times it’s also easy to see these as a task that once it’s done is done. Our learning has been that they are more effective when they are alive and are updated as we grow and develop as individuals as opposed to something you create once and file away.

I think the introduction and embedding of one page profiles has made a really positive impact upon how we work and our organisational culture . But, I don’t think we’ve finished yet – looking ahead we will continue to think and develop new ways of using them. Already we’re thinking of how we could embed them as a key part of our recruitment process and I can see us asking families to complete a profile so our staff can better understand what is important for them and how we can better connect.

So if you’ve got any ideas on how we can use them or would like to know more about our journey please feel free to leave a comment on this blog or contact us directly.


One-page profiles in transition – Supporting someone now and in the future

An example of how using a one-page profile in the transition from school to independent living empowers people to direct their future support and start to build strong relationships based on good understandings, with the new people in their life.

Calum's one-page profile

Calum’s one-page profile

Written by Sally, Calum’s mum

My son is a bit of a charmer! He is very affectionate, has a great sense of humour, is cheeky, and has a deep infectious laugh. Like most 20 year olds he knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like and although he doesn’t express himself verbally, he lets you know exactly what he wants.

He has some real loves and interests; his laminated hoover catalogue page, watching DVD’s, especially Happy Feet, going out for walks and to the local pub for a meal. He has a great fondness for jaffa cakes and extra strong mints. He also knows which people are likely to have a packet of mints in their pocket!

Calum’s one-page profile was developed as a precursor to developing his transition plan. We wanted the key people in his life to be clear about what was really important to him and what they needed to know at a quick glance about how to support him. We needed this because Calum would be moving into supported living once he left his specialist residential school. Maintaining continuity was crucial, but just as important was that others could use Calum’s one-page profile to get a sense of him as a person and start to bond with him in this way.

Together Calum, a team leader from residential, Calum’s key worker, the speech and language therapist and a friend of mine got together at his school ahead of developing Calum’s transition plan. Calum had laminated pictures of things that were important to him and other pictures of things he was interested in to help keep him engaged and to act as prompts to talk about what was important to him. Calum was central to the process and his presence made it dynamic and thought provoking. It is, as parent, uplifting to hear what others like and admire about your child and the affection felt towards him by those who know and work with him.

Creating Calum’s one-page profile was an especially important process for the staff at his school, as they were unfamiliar with person-centred thinking tools.  It became the first step in the school beginning to embrace this type of approach and they began to change their practice as a result.

Calum’s one-page profile, in essence, was the catalyst to collect more detailed information about him, covering everything from how he communicates to his evening routine. Calum’s receptive understanding is somewhat limited and he uses ‘Objects of Reference’ to communicate, so for Calum the profile provided those who have access to it, with a clear idea of how best to support him whether in the classroom or out and about.

The one-page profile also provided the means to think about trying new things or visiting new places and reinforced the belief in those working with him, that they were supporting him in the best way possible.

Creating a one-page profile was the first important phase in developing Calum’s person centred transition plan. It gave those working with Calum the opportunity to fully explore the things that it was felt were important to him and what needed to happen to support him now and in the future. I feel confident in the next phase in Calum’s life because of this process and I’m very proud of what he has achieved so far.