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.

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.

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.

 

Enhancing relationships between families and providers

By sharing her one-page profile with her brother’s support provider, Liz is able to concentrate on being a sister not a carer.  An example of how one-page profiles can improve communication and enhance relationships between families and providers.

Written by Liz Wilson

liz and tommyI am passionate about person-centred ways of working which I have used in my professional and personal life for over a decade now.  My brother and daughter both have Downs Syndrome.  Sarah Jane has grown up with the values of inclusion and person-centred thinking.  Tommy has had a very different life but a move to supported living last year has opened up his world.

About six months ago a new service provider took over Tommy’s contract.  I had been very engaged with the previous provider and began to feel quite cut out of his daily life.  I work full time and can rarely answer a call during typical working hours.  I found it very frustrating to have ‘missed calls’ with no messages or indication of urgency and worried that staff would think I didn’t care.  I am a Family Consultant at a social care provider, Dimensions, where staff share their one-page profiles with families. Working there and seeing the benefit, I realised how valuable it would be for families to share one-page profiles too.  We started doing this within Dimensions and I took the idea to my brother’s provider.  I wanted communication to be constructive and effective, and for people to value my involvement.

I sat down one evening and created a one-page profile for ‘partnership working and fluid communication.’ The profile is about supporting family relationships so I included things that build connections.

To begin with I shared the one-page profile at a review meeting and staff really appreciated knowing a bit more about me and my busy lifestyle.  I gave a copy to the regional manager as well.  I can easily tell the members of staff who have seen and read the profile and those who haven’t.  I keep a copy on the notice board by my desk at home and I jot down the new things I learn.  I plan to give an updated and visually different copy to the team every six months.  I’m going to stick the next one inside Tommy’s wardrobe door as a daily reminder for staff.

Sarah Jane and Tommy often have conflicting needs so a member of staff always supports our time together.  Support staff don’t often co-work with family members and many were uncomfortable with hanging out at home or on family trips.  Now we have a delightful balance of professionalism and friendliness which is much more relaxing.  Niece and uncle have strengthened their relationship because their conflict of interests has been minimised and I can be mum and sister not mediator!

I have high expectations about the quality of support and communication between families and services, and quite rightly so.  However, having my values and needs expressed on a one-page profile enables me to clarify my expectations. When people know what I want and expect they are more likely to give it – and if I haven’t been clear I can change the profile instead of getting frustrated and coming across as a nag.  I now get text messages that are much easier to respond to in a quick break, and voicemail helps me sort the rare urgent issues from those that can wait a day or two.  It is really lovely that Tommy now initiates visits with support from staff and I get good news, not just issues to deal with. When I make suggestions about ways of working or activities to try they are taken as offerings from a partner.  Tommy is more relaxed when we are all together.  He doesn’t use verbal communication but he picks up on tension so I can tell he appreciates the new relationships as much as I do.

Since sharing the one-page profile with the people who support Tommy daily I feel like things are more straightforward.  I would strongly recommend it as a way of enhancing the relationships between families and providers. I love that my views are being sought on things that are important to Tommy.  My role has undergone a transformation too, I feel like I can be a more ordinary sister alongside managing his personal budget and finances.