Let’s start at the beginning; One-page-profiles

13 April 2015

A blog by Julia Rasmussen from Brandon Trust.

‘I want it pink…and I want it to tell people about how I am’


Kelly was interested in the idea of a one-page-profile from the outset. We sat drinking tea with mum, over the dining table, the conversation unfolding. I know Kelly loves children, so I had carefully chosen some example profiles from the internet; one of a young boy with autism and one of a lady of Kelly’s age (22), with cerebral palsy. Kelly was hooked; fascinated by their stories and the way the information had been laid out so personally and positively.

Kelly is a warm, kind-hearted and fun young lady, who has autism, epilepsy and a learning difficulty. Kelly has been assessed by the local authority, and awarded a personal budget. I started to get to know Kelly as her temporary support worker through Brandon Trust. With Kelly, I developed a person-centred plan and supported her to recruit her own support worker. A support worker to not only meet her needs, but to match and compliment her lifestyle, personality and interests. The plan is to utilise really useful person-centred thinking tools, such as the one-page-profile and the matching support tool to facilitate this objective. Kelly is and will be involved every step of the way. Incidentally, this experience helped nicely to choose a name for a new, very person-centred Brandon Trust service; MY WAY.

Over the next few days and weeks, I supported Kelly to put together her one-page-profile. Kelly got stuck in and I was delighted to see her take such pride and such an interest in this project. This was hardly the experience I had had in the past of supporting individuals to complete often long-winded, impersonal, cold, repetitive and generic feeling ‘care plans’.

Kelly took the lead and chose a bright pink back ground, a High School Musical water mark, a picture of herself with a huge smile (in an oval frame; to look like a mirror!), a number of clip art images, fancy fonts and more. Of course, the content of the profile is where all the good stuff is, but from seeing Kelly’s enthusiasm in ‘dressing it up’, I would advise anyone putting one together not to underestimate the importance of presentation. Kelly has taken (rightful!) ownership of the profile and has been handing it out to family, friends and professionals. The fact that this is something she had a huge part in creating makes it more meaningful and personal to her. In an encapsulated form, it really captures the essence of and a fun side to Kelly that you would really struggle to get from standardised reports and 60 page care plans.

The content came together bit by bit, the three of us putting our heads together over a good few cups of tea (milk – no sugar!). We started at the beginning; with ‘What people like and admire about me’. ‘What is important to me’ and ‘How best to support me’ came together as a joint effort. It was refreshing and valuable to have our three perspectives as a starting point.

Kelly – the undisputed expert on Kelly!

Mum – A wonderfully caring, supportive and open-minded parent with 22 years of knowledge and insight into Kelly’s personality, history and lifestyle.

Myself – A professional with a more objective outlook, person-centred training, experience and (I hope!) a healthy dose of ‘this is how we can do this’ mixed with ‘how would you like this done?’

Between us, we put together the bones of the profile. We have since involved others for fresh ideas, feedback and additional points. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, from all corners.

I began to reflect back and look forward to the future. Over 5 years of supporting people; adults, children and the elderly, those with autism, learning disability and mental health issues, each one, I am sure would have benefitted in some way from a profile. Not only them, but support workers, social workers, doctors, psychologists, nurses, job centre advisors, police officers, teachers, relatives, employers and colleagues could all have benefited from the sharing of certain key information. Let’s face it, not everyone has the time or means or permission to access some of the information that is actually key to providing great support and understanding.

Just the other day, Kelly, who is no fan of medical appointments, had a negative experience at her dental appointment. The dentist was apparently quite patronising (“she treated me like a 5 year old”), spoke too fast and not clearly – not giving Kelly a chance to ask questions or finish her sentences. Had the dentist had access to the profile (which takes only a few minutes to read and digest – even for a busy professional) which has some really useful pointers on communication, Kelly could have had quite a different and more positive experience.

The profile has been the first step in a long journey. I know we will come back to it and it will continue to play a central role. We now have a people matching tool that will play a large part in supporting Kelly to recruit her own support worker. It really is, in my opinion, the best place to start in putting together a person-centred plan. It captures something unique about us, something that is often lost in stacks of run-of-the mill paper-work. I look forward to helping to create and contribute to more one-page-profiles in the future. I also hope to encounter more profiles along the way!

Kelly 2                                                               Kelly & Julia

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