Using person-centred tools to make resources go further

07 July 2016

By Michelle Livesley

Recently I've been working in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, exploring how to achieve more personalised outcomes for older people who have been receiving home care.


In both Dumfries & Galloway and Flintshire, innovative providers are exploring how to deliver flexible, person-centred support, which ensures the person receiving the service has increased choice and control – within the same financial constraints.

We’ve done this by being structured and consistent in the way that we get to know what really matters to people, by using person-centred tools. In a time where we’re looking at a system under real strain, it’s encouraging to know that there are ways to make budgets stretch further.


Here are some snippets of the stories we've collected so far:

Rhona met with us to explore whether her existing package could be used more creatively to deliver more person-centred outcomes, and decided that she would be comfortable with a 15-minute bedtime visit instead of the previous 30 minutes in order to help her achieve her goals. This saved 1.5 hours of time every week. Through using person-centred tools we discovered that Rhona really missed getting out in the fresh air, and used to really enjoy cooking. Now she uses the spare 1.5 hours to get out and about to the park or local shops, or to be supported to make a home-cooked meal, achieving her identified objectives.

Tom and his carers told us that he was normally already in bed when his bedtime visit arrived, and thought that this time could be more effectively used elsewhere to help him achieve his personal outcomes. He also reduced his daily teatime visit from one hour to 45 minutes each day, but asked to have a morning visit of 45 minutes every day (previously it was 2 days a week). Even with that, he saved 2 hours and 15 minutes a week of support time which he could use flexibly. Through ‘Working / Not Working’ we found out that Tom really missed being able to get out of the house and being able to do his own shopping. Now he uses his extra time to be supported to get to the shops and pop into his favourite cafe.


Helen enjoyed her care visits already. She is chatty and sociable by nature and looked forward to her support staff coming to see her. We used ‘If I could, I would’ and ‘Perfect Week with her, and it became clear that although she was broadly happy with her routine, she did miss contact with her old friend Jenny. She also really wanted to have a shower every morning, and felt that she could do that on her own but just needed a bit of support in her existing bedtime visit to get things ready. She told us that she’d like to change her teatime visit from 30 minutes to 15, because she was happy having a light supper at that time. With the time she saved, she has an extra hour a week. She now combines that with one of her lunch visits once a week and uses this extended support time to go and see her friend Jenny. Helen told us that it’s the first time since she’s needed this level of support that she feels like she may get back to her old self!


These examples just go to show that by looking what really matters to the person can help us to use their resources in a way that’s both more efficient and more effective. By thinking differently and making a small change, people can get a lot more out of their current time and see a significant difference to their quality of life.

We will have more stories to share from Dumfries and Galloway soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more, just e-mail me at I’m inspired about how well it’s been working and would love to talk to you about it.

You can find out more about person-centred practices by exploring the relevant section of our website or taking our ‘Person-centred thinking for older people’ e-learning module, which comes with a suite of materials and interactive online support.


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