Understanding what is important to someone so you can support them well

An example of how this gentleman has developed new relationships with the people he lives with by sharing detailed information about himself on his one-page profile. As well as directing his own support and having a greater sense of choice and control in his life, Thomas has found things in common with the people he lives with that they can now talk about together.

Thomas' one-page profile

Thomas’ one-page profile

Peter  is 89 years old. He likes to be called by his middle name; Thomas. He did live in Rushall which is just outside Walsall but came to live here in 2011.  Thomas likes to be organised.  He likes his routine and in his own words is ‘very regimented’ in his ways – his main support needs are around mobility as he has to walk with two sticks.

We wanted to create a one-page profile with Thomas to help us understand him better as a person and not just someone who lives here. We wanted to find out about his individual wants and needs and not just what he does because it is the routine of the staff or the home.

Thomas has become less independent since moving here and because he was now more reliant on support staff it became crucial that we knew just how to support him in the right way. Thomas’s one-page profile would help us to achieve this.

Care Assistant Margaret and Thomas met in his bedroom. Margaret explained to Thomas what a one-page profile was and what it would do for him.

Thomas showed a great deal of interest in being involved and looked forward to having his photograph taken to use in display. Margaret initially spent about an hour with Thomas asking him questions about his background.

Thomas’s one-page profile is kept in his plan of care. It’s available for all staff to read. Thomas also keeps a copy for himself so he can read it and show it to his carers and visitors when they meet him. It has enabled staff to provide the appropriate level of support without altering Thomas’s regimented daily routine. Margaret regularly discusses the one-page profile with Thomas to see if it needs updating with new information

Since the completion of his profile, Thomas feels that he has more control in his life. He feels his needs are being met at a more personal level by staff. Prior to using his profile Thomas said that he was feeling that life was institutionalised but now he feels that his views about his level of care are acknowledged and listened to.

Thomas has always had good relationships with both staff and the other people he lives with but the one-page profile has highlighted new areas of his life that he has in common with people. He was in the Forces for years and he now sits at the table with another gentleman who also served, swapping stories and memories. These are new relationships developed because they know more about each other through their one-page profiles.

When you are new to a team: One-page profiles at work

An example of how this apprentice used her one-page profile to help her get the most out of her placement, communicating what support she needed and helping her team get to know her well and quickly.

Mollie's one-page profile

Mollie’s one-page profile

Written by May Lee

Mollie is an apprentice working with a team supporting people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. She had no experience of working with people with learning disabilities prior to beginning her work as an apprentice. Upon starting she immediately showed signs of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn as well as great communication skills. Mollie also attends college one day a week.

Mollie was supported to develop a one-page profile in order to develop her relationships with the new team she was coming into and help us understand what her learning and development needs were so that she could get the most out of her placement with us.

I explained the concept to Mollie who completed a first draft and we went through it together to develop it further. This was then shared with the rest of the support team working alongside Mollie so that everyone could understand how best to support her and make sure we all worked together.

Having the one-page profile has enabled Mollie to do more of what’s important to her. She went on an Intensive Interaction course which meant she was able to develop her relationships further with the people we support. She was then able to feedback not only to the team she was working with but also to other people at the forum. As a result of this she has attended several services team meetings to talk about Intensive Interaction.

The process of developing the profile helped us to understand Mollie better, but also gave Mollie the opportunity to reflect on what she wanted and allowed her to say what she wanted others to do in order to make the most out of her placement. One of the things Mollie said was to give her regular feedback on how she’s doing so that she can keep learning – we make sure we do this at least once a month so we keep it on the agenda.

It has been great watching Mollie grow and develop and I am confident that her one-page profile has empowered her during her apprenticeship with us.

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.

One-page profiles in transition – Supporting someone now and in the future

An example of how using a one-page profile in the transition from school to independent living empowers people to direct their future support and start to build strong relationships based on good understandings, with the new people in their life.

Calum's one-page profile

Calum’s one-page profile

Written by Sally, Calum’s mum

My son is a bit of a charmer! He is very affectionate, has a great sense of humour, is cheeky, and has a deep infectious laugh. Like most 20 year olds he knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like and although he doesn’t express himself verbally, he lets you know exactly what he wants.

He has some real loves and interests; his laminated hoover catalogue page, watching DVD’s, especially Happy Feet, going out for walks and to the local pub for a meal. He has a great fondness for jaffa cakes and extra strong mints. He also knows which people are likely to have a packet of mints in their pocket!

Calum’s one-page profile was developed as a precursor to developing his transition plan. We wanted the key people in his life to be clear about what was really important to him and what they needed to know at a quick glance about how to support him. We needed this because Calum would be moving into supported living once he left his specialist residential school. Maintaining continuity was crucial, but just as important was that others could use Calum’s one-page profile to get a sense of him as a person and start to bond with him in this way.

Together Calum, a team leader from residential, Calum’s key worker, the speech and language therapist and a friend of mine got together at his school ahead of developing Calum’s transition plan. Calum had laminated pictures of things that were important to him and other pictures of things he was interested in to help keep him engaged and to act as prompts to talk about what was important to him. Calum was central to the process and his presence made it dynamic and thought provoking. It is, as parent, uplifting to hear what others like and admire about your child and the affection felt towards him by those who know and work with him.

Creating Calum’s one-page profile was an especially important process for the staff at his school, as they were unfamiliar with person-centred thinking tools.  It became the first step in the school beginning to embrace this type of approach and they began to change their practice as a result.

Calum’s one-page profile, in essence, was the catalyst to collect more detailed information about him, covering everything from how he communicates to his evening routine. Calum’s receptive understanding is somewhat limited and he uses ‘Objects of Reference’ to communicate, so for Calum the profile provided those who have access to it, with a clear idea of how best to support him whether in the classroom or out and about.

The one-page profile also provided the means to think about trying new things or visiting new places and reinforced the belief in those working with him, that they were supporting him in the best way possible.

Creating a one-page profile was the first important phase in developing Calum’s person centred transition plan. It gave those working with Calum the opportunity to fully explore the things that it was felt were important to him and what needed to happen to support him now and in the future. I feel confident in the next phase in Calum’s life because of this process and I’m very proud of what he has achieved so far.

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.


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.

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.

A wake up call

An example of how a one-page profile has led to successful communication between Paul and his support worker Robin by drawing out the key information ‘what is important to you and how do you want to be supported?’

Paul's one-page profile

Paul’s one-page profile

Written by Support Worker, Robin

Paul is a young adult in his early 20’s who dreams of going to college and experiencing life on his own, all while getting an education. He currently lives with his parents but is looking for his own flat. We decided to create a one-page profile with Paul so that I, as his support worker, would not only know how to best support him, but in what areas he does want my support and what he wants that support to look like.

We sat down one afternoon with some friends and just talked about the various ways support could be provided. Paul then wrote his own profile.  It was shared with me and my direct supervisor. We used it to problem solve how we would ensure Paul received his support in the way he wanted.

It made a huge difference for me as his support worker in the sense that I now know very clearly what he wants from me. It had never previously dawned on me to ask ‘how’ he wanted communication between us to look until he mentioned it. The one-page profile sets out what is important to him, and he now knows how I can help him achieve that.

Our communication has become much more successful since I have been using the medium he has chosen – text message. It sounds simple (what 20 something year old man doesn’t prefer to keep in touch via text?) but before he noted it on his one-page profile it hadn’t occurred to me. Paul used to worry about appointments and whether or not he had the time and date correct. He used to leave me phone messages which wouldn’t always get passed on and this would lead to anxiety and missed appointments. Now he simply sends me a text message whenever he wants to confirm anything or needs reassurance and I can reply straight back to him.

Paul respects my boundaries of only texting during business hours, and I respect his desire to use that as our primary communication method. Instant answers work best for him, while still enabling him to see the answers to his questions in writing if he forgets what was said earlier. Over all our working relationship is better as a result. It was a big wake up call for me too. I communicate with most of my friends via text and it is the preferred medium for many so it makes sense that this would work for Paul too.

The one-page profile has absolutely achieved what we wanted it to! I am able to support Paul to the best of my ability with this information and we have been able to progress along much quicker than before.