Using a one-page profile for support with mental health

An example of how the process of producing a one-page profile can help a person to open up and talk about the things that are important to them that previously they may have kept hidden.  Duncan’s team are now much better equipped to support him since learning more about his personal ambitions, values and positive traits.

Duncan's one-page profile

Duncan’s one-page profile

Written by May Lee at Certitude.

Duncan is a 38 year old Jamaican man. He currently lives at Fanon House where he has been for almost a year and a half.  Fanon House is a hostel based in Brixton where we provide support to people with mental health support needs from African and Caribbean backgrounds.

Duncan’s interests include football and socialising. In addition to this he has a passion for music and especially reggae and rap, which he finds relaxing and motivating.   He is a practising Rastafarian and his faith is very important to him.

The purpose of Duncan’s one-page profile was to share information with people who may not work directly with Duncan such as other staff or bank workers so that they would be able to provide Duncan with the best possible support and understand his mental health needs.

In producing his profile, I met with Duncan in the early mornings just before he took his medication. This is when he is most alert and in a conversational mood. To get a good all-round perspective I also spoke to people who know Duncan well – people he lives with and other team members to get their views.

Duncan’s completed one-page profile was used on a daily basis straight away. It became particularly essential for bank staff who were directed to read it and gain a better understanding of who he was and how to approach and speak to him.

Through talking with Duncan about how his one-page profile has benefited him he appears to now have a clearer focus on what he wants to do and where he wants to get to. He would like to get to a stage where he can become fully independent and move on with his life beyond Fanon House. He understands that this will require working with his support team to achieve certain mile stones which he has identified, such as getting into employment. He now seems more prepared to do this. He has also expressed his need to see his daughter who he has not seen for a long-time. Until working on his one-page profile and Duncan opening up to us, we hadn’t known that his daughter existed.

Duncan’s one-page profile has helped us to gain a better understanding of the man that he is  and has enabled us to think more holistically about him than just his mental health support needs. It has helped the way we relate to Duncan, talking about a bigger range of things and in turn the way he sees staff.

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.

The first Social Care provider in Scotland to commit to one-page profiles; How they did it

Written by Karen Pratt

CEO Karen Pratt

CEO Karen Pratt

My background is commercial. I worked in hospitality for many years and my last role was as National Business Director for a private healthcare company.  I’m used to sitting on boards where decisions were almost always profit focused and things happened quickly because little red tape stood in our way. My move into Social Care three years ago was a bit of a culture shock but not as much as you might imagine. I am CEO of an adult learning disability support provider in North East Scotland. Inspires, support around 300 people in their own homes, in housing, employment and training. We employ over 500 staff and our vision is to empower people’s life choices

Because of a shift in the way support providers are expected to deliver services, can achieve funding and need to interact with customers, there has been a big change in the way organisations like ours operate. Whereas before providers often negotiated bulk contracts with local authorities to provide support services, we now operate in a market that puts the end customer much more firmly in the driving seat. We now need to speak to people face-to-face, find out what an individual wants and needs and tailor our service to meet their needs. Self directed support is only just filtering through in Scotland, and we are still some way behind England in terms of implementation but it is the future and as such it has very much changed the way we operate in the here and now.

People aren’t always comfortable with the concept of marrying commercial business principles with social care. It can feel a little cold and technical to discuss business models, profit and loss, forecast and projections in relation to services that have traditionally been described as third sector, charities or non-profit making. The truth is though, all organisations have to generate funds in order to operate. One of my jobs as CEO has been to ensure that the team believe in generating profits; not so that some shareholder somewhere can benefit, but so that we can allocate money into having the very best staff with the very best training, delivering exceptional services.

When I consider how much the third sector has changed in recent years, my move from commercial business to social care feels far less dramatic. I have always been customer focused and whereas before we support providers might have provided a one-size-fits-all model, now we work hard to find out about the individual, what they want, need, what their budget is, what their aspirations are for the future, what is important to them; we develop a support package that works with them to achieve this.

I’m always looking at new ways to improve our services for the people we support and to ensure that we are providing our staff teams with the very best experience. When one of our Directors first told me about one-page profiles I was keen to learn more. We learnt from social care provider, Dimensions, that profiles can help people direct their own support, match people working together, build better relationships and make good introductions. Dimensions has introduced profiles across all staff and people they support and have been fundamental in us rolling out the practice within Inspire.

I strongly believe that one-page profiles will help us to deliver person-centred support to our customers.  The profile itself is a simple and succinct tool that communicates what people like and admire about a person, what is important to someone and how to support them well. By using it within our teams we can be sure that we’re supporting staff, celebrating their gifts and understanding them well. By using it with people we support we can understand and appreciate them as individuals, match them well with others and empower them to direct their own support.

We are in the early stages but so far all head office personnel have written one-page profiles, as have service managers. We are in the process of introducing them to more support workers and to the people we support.  This is how we are doing it:

  1. Learning from the experiences of other social care providers who have taken a similar approach to personalisation
  2. Committing internally to their use at senior management level
  3. Introducing to teams at team meeting
  4. Sharing examples of one-page profiles monthly using a team brief email so that people can learn more about each other, work better together, improve relationships and see how a profile works in practice
  5. Sharing profile templates and profile writing guidelines on the intranet
  6. Sharing team member profiles on the website for customers and family members to access.

I’m hoping by sharing this practice in this blog, other providers will see how profiles can be rolled out within their organisation. I believe that as our sector continues in its customer focused drive, tools like these will become commonplace. For now though, I think we are ahead of the game and possible the only social care organisation on Scotland to have committed to introduce one-page profiles with everyone we support and employ! Something we can be proud of.


Allaying a mum’s fears

How a one-page profile can help a baby settle into a new nursery environment and help parents to feel confident that they will be well looked after, nurtured and supported to develop.

Matilda's one-page profile

Matilda’s one-page profile

Written by mum; Amy

Matilda is a happy, healthy eight month old baby girl. She has a five year old big sister Molly, daddy Jay and me, her mum. Matilda was born on the 4 August 2012, just four days later than expected.

I recently found a nursery for Matilda to go to once I returned back to work three days a week. Finding a suitable place to leave Matilda was hard enough, but once I’d decided on the right nursery, I then had the anxiety of how she would cope being away from her mummy when I was all she was used to.  I know Matilda’s personality inside out but I have carried her for 9 months and cared for her every day since. What if she cried and the nursery staff didn’t know what to do? What if they didn’t remember her feed times? I needed to find a way of communicating with the nursery about Matilda’s likes and dislikes and how best to look after her.

I decided to create a one-page profile for Matilda and share it with the nursery. I put together photographs of her to illustrate the page and Jay and I went through all the important information that nursery would need to know. We shared the profile with her close family to capture their opinions and make sure nothing was missed. The aim was to help Matilda settle into her new and unusual surroundings and to make sure her Key Worker knew her well, to make it easier for them to bond.

Matilda’s profile went with her on her first visit to nursery. A copy was kept in her folder and one placed on the notice board where all staff could look at it. Leaving your baby at nursery for the first time can be very frightening but creating the one-page profile filled me with confidence that the team there knew how best to support her.

I had a great reaction from Matilda’s Key Worker who said it helped her to get to know Matilda quickly. She thought having all the information on one page was really useful and the bright colours and photographs made it attractive and encouraged people to look at it. The nursery Manager was pleased with the profile too and said she thought it would be useful for other parents to do something similar for their children.

Every three months Matilda will have a review. I plan to use the one-page profile to keep track of new developments.  As she grows and her needs change we will add to it so it evolves with her.

I strongly believe that Matilda’s one-page profile has helped her to settle quickly into her new environment. She is happy and smiley when I drop her off in the mornings, and when I collect her at the end of the day. Matilda’s Key Worker understands her routine and characteristics well. It is rewarding to know that the profile has been useful to staff at the nursery as well as helping me to allay some of my fears.

It is never going to be easy leaving your baby with someone else, but the one-page profile has enabled me to share all the important information about Matilda in a way that is easy to digest for the people looking after her. My little baby girl is as happy and healthy as ever and I feel confident that she is being well looked after.

If you are interested in reading more about person-centred tools in pregnancy and parenting you might be interest in the blog.