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.