‘Down to Earth’ What does your #OnePP say about you?

Executive Director at Action on Hearing Loss, Louise shares how she uses her one-page profile professionally; introducing it into their recruitment process and using it to break the ice with colleagues and families when meeting for the first time.

Louise's one-page profile

Louise’s one-page profile

Written by Louise Pritchard

At Action on Hearing Loss we have made a commitment to personalisation and have a programme approach looking at ways we can improve as an organisation to be more person centred.

One of the things we have been doing is asking everyone working in our Care and Support directorate to have a one-page profile.  The process of creating these has helped people and teams to understand each other more, and provided an insight into the best way of working with colleagues. By creating my own one-page profile I recognised that I am a pragmatist and a realist and now my colleagues know not to be put off if I put creative ideas down, they know to work with me to find a practical solution.

We live in a culture where giving or receiving a compliment can feel uncomfortable.  Using like and admire in team meetings has broken down this barrier and people have said afterwards they feel they can be more honest and open with each other.  Staff have found it really helpful in appraisals and one to ones too. The profiles facilitate positive feedback and open up conversations.  We have found that talking about “how best to support me” makes it easier for staff to ask for the support they need from their manager.

I can see when a team has adopted one-page profiles as they “gel” together and work in harmony; they understand how to get the best out of each other. People have found it easier to work out issues when there is no blame – just “this is how I see it”. When other depts. have seen the positive impact this work has had its inspired them to create their own one-page profiles.

We use one-page profiles as part of recruitment, asking people to create their own profile and bring it with them to interview.  This means the people we support can get to know a bit about candidates and be more effectively involved in the recruitment. We want the people who work for us to understand they need to give something of themselves in order to create trust and build a relationship with the people we support.

My one-page profile has given me insight into the way I work, and how others see me. I have two BSL sign names that have been given to me by people I work with, one is a clawed hand on the back of the head as I always wear my hair in a bun, and the other is the sign for “down to earth”.

When I am out visiting services or attending events some staff can find meeting an Executive Director a bit daunting, but after reading my one-page profile it breaks the ice and people know they can just talk to me, hence the sign name “down to earth”.

I attend a lot of conferences and formal gatherings, and I get sent the conference pack with biographies of speakers, or asked to send mine.  They tend to be very formal about the person’s professional achievements and where they have worked, but don’t give you a sense of the person or what’s important to them.

I am often tempted to send my one-page profile instead of the traditional biography but I have so far held back as I wonder if people would know what a one-page profile was. Next time I will be brave and put it out there with the biography!!

First create your own, then support others to create theirs

An example of how by creating their own one-page profiles professionals can feel confident and empowered to support others in the process.

Written by Rebecca*

Rebecca's one-page profile

Rebecca’s one-page profile

I’m employed by a provider of learning, support and care for children and adults with learning disabilities. I manage two services and we encourage all members of staff and the people we support to have a one-page profile.

It is a really good way for families to know who is supporting them, and for them to get to know the kind of people employed. In the services I manage, there are often staffing changes due to the type of support provided and sometimes the support is brand new, having come from another provider. My one-page profile breaks the ice with a new family or member of staff, giving them information about me, so they see a person, not just a name or job title. This makes it much easier to communicate.

I completed my one-page profile myself, but found it difficult to think of the ‘what people like and admire about me’ section so I talked to friends, colleagues and family to ask them about what they thought. I completed it over a period of time, thinking about it in my work and personal life, to really reflect on what is important to me and the support that works well for me, which made it more comprehensive.

I use my one page-profile with my staff team and with people who I support so they can get to know me well. It was also used as an example to the people we support as the kind of thing that staff should be aiming for when helping them produce their own. Staff found it helpful to write a one-page profile for themselves before doing it with the children and young people they visit.

Producing my one-page profile helped me to think about the things in my life that are important to me and therefore helped me to think about what was important to the people I support.  Perhaps before, I might not have thought about it in that level of detail. For example, because my family are important to me, it made me realise that it was vital to include children’s families when supporting them to complete their support planning process. It was helpful for me also to see that the things in my personal life that were important to me impacted on the way I like people to work with me and support me. As a result of developing my own one-page profile I am more confident; family and friends have been proactive in helping me to think positively about myself, I feel reassured in my way of working and feel uplifted as a result. It’s increased my respect for myself and given me greater confidence in working with others.

Having a one-page profile has been really helpful, particularly in building those crucial initial relationships with the families we support. It has helped them to get to know me as a person, with specific interests and has opened up conversations helping them to feel more confident about the company. It has achieved much for the service, especially in helping other staff to complete them for themselves, and for the children and young people they support. One-page profiles are developing more throughout the service, with staff members and people we support, people are enjoying creating them and using them to get to know people better.

*names have been changed.

You know me so well!

Written by Victoria Metcalfe, Dementia Consultant, Anchor

Victoria Metcalfe

Victoria Metcalfe

I had a birthday this week. It was one with a zero in it… I sat nervously in my living room all day, responding to birthday well-wishers by text and email, dreading the possibility that one of my nearest and dearest might have had the bright idea of throwing me a surprise party. I hate surprises. I love surprising other people – but I’m awful at being taken by surprise. Thankfully, this message must have trickled through somehow and it seems I needn’t have worried; my friends know me well!

Knowing someone well is the focus of a big piece of work I’m involved in at the moment. I’m a Dementia Consultant working for Anchor and we have been looking at how one-page profiles can be used to ensure that the people that live and work in a care home can really know and understand each other well. One-page profiles do much more than this of course. They help people with common interests and outlooks be matched together, they communicate important information for people who might not be able to communicate it themselves, they empower people to direct their own support and live the life they choose, but ‘knowing someone well’ really is at the heart of the concept.

Over 25 years ago I had a chance encounter with a young man who had Alzheimer’s . He changed my outlook on life. I can clearly remember to this day my first meeting with him and how distressed he seemed about being unable to communicate with the people around him.  I remember those same people equally as clearly and how little they were attempting to engage and understand him. They saw him as a bunch of symptoms not a person and it was incredibly sad to realise.  My overriding feeling about this was one of injustice and it is the injustice of people being marginalised or defined by their illness that still motivates me today to be person-centred in everything I do; to have empathy, compassion and most importantly of all, to care about knowing people well and basing support on this in-depth knowledge of them.

I’ve never had a planned career path – it just wasn’t something that I set out for myself. But I’ve been working with people with dementia for more than 25 years now, with social services, with the Alzheimer’s Society and for the last 13 years with Anchor. I knew when I joined Anchor that I agreed with and believed in their organisational values but it is the people I work with and their relationships with the people we support and their families that has made this job so worthwhile for me.

Anchor is the largest not-for profit provider of support and housing for people over the age of 55 in England but that’s not what makes us special. We are special because we believe in seeing and treating people as individuals. We provide person-centred care and moreover we want to improve on this further, embedding person-centred thinking deep into the culture of our organisation by making tools like one-page profiles commonplace for colleagues and customers.  We believe in doing with a person not doing for them. In supporting family and friends to adapt to a person’s changing abilities and always focusing on what they can do not what they can’t do. In a world that can see older adults as broken people, our celebration of people’s individual talents and gifts and determination to support them to live the life they choice is something I’m really proud to be a part of.

My own one-page profile describes what people like and admire about me, what is important to me and how best to support me. Needless to say I have included in it that I don’t like surprises – something which my friends might know about me but might be useful for a work colleague to know too. I’ve already changed my approach to team members after reading their profiles and understanding them better. It’s strange, you can work with someone for years and think you know them so well only to learn important information that you just hadn’t uncovered before – this is the power of the one-page profile; the succinct way it communicates the essential information to enable relationships, collaborative working and support.

This week I’m attending the annual Dementia Congress. I’ve spoke most years but this time I’m going just to soak up the information, to learn about the new and innovative ways people are transforming care for people with dementia, to meet colleagues and share best practice. I’ll be shouting from the roof tops about one-page profiles and how this relatively untapped resource could revolutionise care for people with dementia. I believe that the one-page profiles that we are introducing in Anchor really will change people’s lives;  helping people with dementia live a life that makes sense to them in the way that they want and all based on a deep understanding of who someone is and what is important to them. Everyone should be able to say ‘you know me so well’ and soon they will!

Look around the rest of this site using the menu bar at the top of this page to learn more about one-page profiles, how to create your own and to read stories from people using them from birth to end of life.