It’s the ‘little things’ that make a difference

Ellen's one-page profile

Ellen’s one-page profile

 

An example of how creating a one-page profile has empowered Ellen to speak out about the ‘little things’ and make positive changes in her life.

Written by Cat Eglington

Ellen is 66 years old and from the North East of England. She has a condition called hydrocephalus which means she has physical disabilities and a learning disability. She lived with her mum for many years, who supported her with all aspects of her life. Her mum cared for her greatly until she sadly died in 2000. At this point Ellen moved into a supported living service to continue to get the help she needed.

Ellen’s health needs had always been a key focus of the support she received but support staff where she lived were keen to use person-centred thinking and felt that developing a one-page profile with Ellen might capture her own unique ways and wishes. They felt Ellen had grown up being such a kind person that she would often agree politely with other people’s ideas and not express her own wishes. They wanted a way to get to discover and record exactly what was important to Ellen – not just what support she needed with her health.

One of the staff  who supported Ellen (Anne) sat and chatted with her for a couple of hours over a cup of tea. She developed a draft one-page profile in this time. Other staff who know Ellen added in details and information that they knew to be important to her. Her brother and sister in-law checked that they felt the profile captured who Ellen was from their perspective.

Ellen’s one-page profile is referred to every day. It is kept in the very front of her support plan. If agency staff ever need to support Ellen they are asked to read her one-page profile to get a succinct overview of what matters to her and to help them understand how to provide good support. Ellen had a person-centred review recently and the one-page profile informed exactly how the review was planned and delivered.

Ellen’s one-page profile highlighted several things that really mattered to her. She loves the soaps (apart from Eastenders) and in her review it was discussed that she would love to go to see the site of the soaps such as Coronation street and Emmerdale. As a result she has been supported to book a holiday , with a carer and a hire car so that she can go and visit all the TV locations that she loves , including Heartbeat country. The volunteer coordinator has connections in TV and is hopeful of pulling a few strings for a couple of visitors passes. Ellen has in the past been offered holidays and been happy to go, but this time the holiday was planned to completely reflect what is important to her.

Ellen has a package of support that focuses on her health needs but staff now better recognise the things that make a difference. They always pop into her flat around the time of the evening Soaps to make sure she has the right channels on her TV. She sometimes finds it hard to see the buttons on the remote .When supporting Ellen over a cup of tea, staff know to make sure Ellen’s cup is topped up with hot water half way through so she never has to drink a cold brew- which she hates!

Another difference to Ellen is that she attends a nearby day centre and said she particularly enjoys the bingo there. As a result of appreciating this staff are now beginning to support Ellen to attend a regular coffee morning in the village she lives in and to attend the local bingo gala nights.

The process of creating a one-page profile gave Ellen the opportunity to put forward more of her own views when in other circumstances she might not. This has helped her make some plans and changes. It has also meant that attention is given to the “little things” that make Ellen feel happy and valued, whilst still appreciating her increasing health needs. Staff who know her feel it helps keep the balance in her life and focuses on improving the quality of support in the way that matters to her.

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A snapshot of me

An example of how this one-page profile has helped Mark direct his own support. Ensuring that the people in his life are introduced to, and therefore connect with, his positive traits as well as understanding how best to work with him to do the things that he states as important.

Mark's one-page profile

Mark’s one-page profile

Mark is an intelligent 62 year old man who prefers to initiate conversation or physical contact with you. He will approach you if he wants to hug or talk to you. But he can become agitated if he’s not in the mood to interact. Mark sometimes uses Makaton (speech, signs and graphic symbols) to communicate but he’ll understand if you ask questions and use short sentences.

His one-page profile was developed to share basic snapshot information needed to support him in the best way possible because he has some behavioural patterns that can be avoided if the correct measures are followed. Whether at home or out and about, he prefers to be served food and drink before others and likes to have things done as quickly as possible. We provide support staff with more detail in his behavioural support plan.

Mark is not in contact with his family, so all decisions are made through his support workers, advocate and his Social Worker. This is also how we created his one-page profile.

All support staff, agency staff and relief staff have read the document. It is kept with Mark’s support plan and also on his bedroom door. The profile is updated every three months. It shares the things that people like and admire about Mark, such as his generosity, helpfulness, his sense of humour and the fact that he blames the cat for everything. As well as capturing the information people need to know to support him well, it also presents these positive attributes so that people can connect with Mark on a personal level.

All staff members are fully aware of Mark’s support needs after reading his full support plan. But Mark’s one-page profile has enabled support staff to really focus on what is important to him and the copy on his bedroom door constantly reminds them of this. For both Mark and his support workers this is a great help because it informs them of his weekly activities alongside his daily planner. It is extremely important to know how and when to initiate contact with Mark as this can determine Mark’s reaction and cooperation.

Overall the one-page profile has proven itself to be a great tool in providing as much information as possible about Mark in a very short but detailed document. It is very useful for relief/agency staff members who only have a limited amount of time to find out as much information as possible about Mark and to support him in the right way.

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.

Connecting to the families you work with

An example of how the process of creating a one-page profile has led one professional to use the information they gathered to improve their own approach to first introductions.

Trina's one-page profile

Trina’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Trina works as a Support Advisor for Dimensions, talking to potential new customers and their families about what kind of support is important for them and what is available.

She uses her one-page profile to introduce herself.  As well as using the traditional one-page profile format, Trina produced a business card from the information she gathered when creating her profile.  Much like the profile, the business card includes key skills and gifts that people like and admire about Trina, along with helpful details about what is important to her about her job and how best she goes about it.

The business cards are sent out to people and families before any face-to-face meeting to introduce Trina and her approach. Trina will update her card from feedback and comments she receives from people that read it, for example, one gentleman commented that her photo did not look like her so she promptly set about changing it.

One-page profiles and the resulting business cards are now common practice for all Support Advisors. Trina feels more connected with people and families once they have been introduced to her through the business card and it provides more opportunities to develop a good relationship with people right from the off.

The business cards were created because they also contained Trina’s contact details and the design was eye-catching. They were also quite robust.

Trina shares information about being open to new ideas, taking an interest in others and being hard working and conscientious, which has helped people realise she is there to help. Her one-page profile also lets people know she is very open to feedback, that she is motivated by seeing others achieve and that she’s loyal, which has helped pave a path towards constructive and open conversations.

Trina’s one-page profile fills the gap between telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings. She feels that people and their families have got to know her a little bit before they sit down and talk, and this puts people at ease and provides Trina with more confidence to get on with her job.

Providing the best support because you are well matched; How Learning Disability Support Workers use one-page profiles

An example of how by introducing one-page profiles, this social care provider was not only able to improve the working experience for their staff, but form better, more cohesive teams and match individuals to each other, providing person-centred support.

Support Worker Marie's one-page profile

Support Worker Marie’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Marie works for Dimensions. She is a member of a team that supports people with learning disabilities. In particular, she supports Denise who she knows very well, and with whom she is well matched. She is fun and active, yet likes to work in a very organised environment with a clear idea of what is expected of her. 

Marie developed her one-page profile for two main reasons. To help her fellow team members get to know her and her approach to work. And to help the matching process between herself and the individuals she supports. She talked to friends, family and colleagues to capture the things that people like and admire about her.

Marie has always considered herself a team player and loves her job. Her frustrations used to come from not always knowing her place in the group and uncertainly over where and how she could be most productive and utilise her most effective skills.

Marie’s whole team completed their one-page profiles together. They then took time to share them and used the information to discuss which roles each team member would flourish in. They also opened up about how best to support each other. This process helped Marie significantly. She felt she could take on work with confidence and communication with team members made sense and was constructive.

The biggest benefit was that support workers were matched to the person they had most chance of developing a positive relationship with, and therefore providing the best support. Using one-page profiles not only arranged things so that Marie was supporting people she was best matched to, the whole team was clear about why and how best to support it to happen – a great way to build and maintain great, person-centred teams.

Marie’s frustrations have disappeared. The content of her one-page profile has been useful and productive, and this has been a benefit for the whole team, and – most importantly – for people the team support.

 

Planning for the future

A powerful example of how this young woman’s one-page profile has empowered her and her family in her transition from school, to volunteering, to hiring her own personal assistant and accessing her personal budget.

Melissa's one-page profile

Melissa’s one-page profile

Written by Debra and Ronnie

Melissa is our gorgeous, bubbly, engaging 21 year old daughter, who has a learning disability.  Melissa lives at home with us, her Mum and Dad. She sees Grandma often, spending time with her going shopping at least once a week.  Melissa has support from a personal assistant through her personal budget and lives the life she chooses, has a voluntary job and spends quality time with her friends and family.

Melissa attended a special school and we were invited to a meeting in her last year by Cath (the local Person Centred Practice coordinator) and Liz (a family expert in person-centred approaches).  The meeting was about hopes and fears for the future; we had hopes for Melissa’s future but these were often outweighed by our fears of what the future held…we had never heard of person-centred approaches or what support was available or how to ask for it.  After the meeting we felt more hopeful and had support from Cath to get the ball rolling for Melissa’s future.  We wanted to capture information about Melissa to share with others, match her with someone who could support her well and use to support her getting a personal budget.

Melissa already knew Cath from her time spent in school and it felt comfortable having chats at home all together to think about the things that were important to Melissa and what good support looked like.  Our starting point was developing a one-page profile together.

Being able to capture what we know as parents to share with others was really important.  We hadn’t used any other support for Melissa apart from family, so the one-page profile gave us confidence that people would have the right information to support her well.  The first time we used it (and the first time we had any involvement with social services) was meeting with the social worker for Melissa’s personal budget.  The one-page profile helped us enormously because we had captured the information in advance and we didn’t forget things when answering questions. This made the meeting a positive experience, the social worker was impressed with the profile.  We also used it to think about the type of person we wanted to support Melissa and the information they would need to know to support her well.

Beginning with Melissa’s one-page profile started the ball rolling to think about other person-centred thinking tools we could use; we used a communication chart to give more detail about the support Melissa needs around her epilepsy and migraines, and the matching tool to think about the type of person that could support Melissa well.  We update it to reflect the changes in Melissa’s life, for example when she finished at college and was thinking about what she wants to do next.  Melissa now has a volunteer job which she loves, has made new friends and kept in touch with old ones, takes the lead for arranging get togethers with her friends over coffee before going bowling and is taking control over her own life with confidence.

Melissa’s profile helps us all to think about what is important to her to have quality in her life and the support she needs to achieve this. It’s great to be able to capture this on one piece of paper.

 

 

Team work – making it work!

An example of how one-page profiles can be developed for teams as well as individuals and how by using them, people within the team share a sense of common purpose, celebrating what they are good at and recognising what is important to them as a collective.

East Berkshire one-page profile

East Berkshire one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

The East Berkshire region is one of support provider Dimensions’ operational regions, covering the areas of Wokingham & Bracknell. Around 200 people are supported within this region, in a range of different settings, and there are over 350 members of staff.

Although each individual member of staff and person supported has their own one-page profile, as part of Dimensions Personalisation Journey, the regional management team wanted to develop a profile which reflected the team as a whole. This has been shared as part of the roll-out of our personalisation journey.

The profile was developed by one of the Assistant Operations Directors who used ideas and thoughts captured at a regional management meeting, as well as asking others who work with the team internally and externally.

The ’East Berks one-page profile’ has been shared with managers and staff teams throughout the region. People we support, and other internal and external stakeholders have seen the profile. Following on from the regional profile, a number of individual staff teams have created their own team profiles as well.

The regional one-page profile has helped the staff recognise their strengths and achievements, and acknowledge what is important to them on a collective basis. It has given the whole region a sense of their identity and enabled them to share this with others.

Developing the profile has helped the staff team feel connected to what they are trying to achieve, and to recognise what it important to them. It has supported the personalisation journey, as staff can connect up individual profiles to team profiles and to the regional profile, creating a sense of shared purpose and understanding, as well as celebrating things that we feel we are good at.

My profile evolves with me

An example of how people use one-page profiles in the workplace to help build effective and harmonious working relationships. Steve’s story also highlights how one-page profiles work best when they continually evolve with a person.

Steve's one-page profile

Steve’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Steve Inch is the co-chair of Dimensions Council. He retired from his role as Dimensions’ Deputy Chief Executive in 2012 and now spends some of his own time working to develop Dimensions’ involvement strategy.

The Dimensions Council is a representative body of the people Dimensions’ support, and brings important issues to the Board’s attention twice a year.

Whilst at Dimensions Steve was introduced to one-page profiles and created one with his friends, family and work colleagues past and present. In the section where people describe what they like and admire about Steve, his calm, fair and considerate nature is highlighted; something that helps put the people that work alongside him at ease.

Steve’s one-page profile has been used to introduce him to the members of Dimensions Council, particularly those that have not worked with him before. Is was important that he found ways to help people understand his work-style as well as his general approach to people and life, so Council members could work with him effectively and harmoniously.

Steve has shared his one-page profile with all the Dimensions Council members. He has also shared and reinforced elements of it within Council meetings and everyone has had opportunity to read it carefully in their own time, in fact all Council members have a one-page profile and they are all shared across the entire membership.

Steve keeps his one-page profile up-to-date by reviewing it in his own time when reflecting on his learning from both his work and life experiences. If ever his one-page profile is updated he shares this with his co-chair and the Council membership so that it continues to evolve with him.

How do I match the right support to me?

An example of how one woman uses her one-page profile to ensure the right support team are matched to her and that the people in her life respect her decisions, supporting her in the things that she has stated as important.

Denise's one-page profile

Denise’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions 

Denise is an elected member of learning disability and autism support provider Dimensions’ Council. She is also very talented at knitting blankets and scarves and has recently moved in with her fiancé, Stuart. Denise has a learning disability and receives paid-support from Dimensions.

Denise has a one-page profile to let her staff and others that spend time with her know what is important to her and how best to support her. In particular, this is useful for new people in Denise’s life as she feels it is very important for them to understand who she is and the things that matter to her quickly. She hopes it will give her staff team the confidence to support her in the right way, right from the start. It is used to introduced new people to Denise so that they get to know her well, especially the section on what others ‘like and admire’ about her. The profile is a key element of her support plan and it will change and evolve depending on where she is in her life and what she wants to achieve.

Denise’s one-page profile lets people know that there are some things she knows she can let slip around the house, and she gives permission to people to sometimes encourage her to gets things done. As a clear boundary, she also states that her decisions need to be respected and that this is very important to her. This has helped clarify her support team’s role, and also helped keep Denise in control.

Her one-page profile also makes it very clear that to make decisions she needs the right information at hand. This has proved very useful for her time on the Dimensions’ Council (and other groups she has attended) as her support worker goes through items in detail with Denise so she can have confidence in her opinion on matters that arise.

Finally, Denise makes it very clear in her one-page profile that Stuart (her fiancé) is a very important part of her life and that he supports and cares for her. This has helped her support team recognise that their role when Denise and Stuart are together changes quite a lot, as when they are together they are very independent and private.

Denise’s one-page profile has a number of uses and has been a real success. It relies on people taking it seriously and putting its content into action as Denise can be a shy person and at times will not always stress its importance. The key to its success is getting the right staff match for Denise, and using the one-page profile to define further their relationship and what ‘good’ support looks like to Denise.

Helping people live the life they choose

An example of how one-page profiles can help a person communicate their working style. Carl’s story also highlights how profiles can be used by a Quality Auditor as a review tool by assessing whether or not a provider is supporting people to achieve the things that they state as important.

Carl's one-page profile

Carl’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Carl Shaw is a Quality Auditor at Dimensions. He carries out audits so that we can measure the quality of services against an agreed set of standards called Reach2; they outline what people should expect from a supported living service so that they can, for example, choose where and who they live with, how they are supported and who supports them.  As well as being an excellent Auditor, Carl has rounded experience in his field as he too has a learning disability.

As a Quality Auditor, Carl’s one- page profile has been used to introduce him to the people living in the services he audits, and the staff teams there.  In developing his one-page profile, Carl asked his family, some friends, colleagues and fellow trainees at a course he attended about person-centred reviews what they admired and liked about him. Carl got lots of feedback and decided to categorise the answers into three parts – work attributes, things that keep him on an even keel and other attributes.

Carl likes to have a good balance of home life and work life. He works 25 hours a week which enables him to feel fulfilled in both areas of his life. His one-page profile reflects this and so the people working with him are aware of this important balance without Carl having to explain it.

Carl’s one-page profile highlights that it is important to him that people we support get enough support to live the life they choose – the Reach2 standards are assessing this. In his one-page profile Carl explains that he might come across as strict in his assessment of our services, but that is because the quality of the service people experience in order to live their life is very important to him.

Carl also asks managers for the one-page profiles of the people they support. He finds this an essential tool for his job because when he visits a service he can look at the things that are important to the person, and then asses if those things have been achieved or are being worked on.

Carl also mentions in his profile that he needs support with writing and English.  He is now doing an English literacy course to help him to be able to type reports better. This is another benefit that has come out of sharing important information by using a one-page profile.