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In any decisions being made, the person who is at the centre of making that decision has to feel they are actively doing so. This is very important as I have seen too often service users left feeling they are just a passive attendee at a meeting, and have little say in what goes on. As a manager or a member of staff we can often take for granted the work we do, with its related administration, meetings and bureaucracy. For the people that use our services, this can seem overwhelming. It would take a lot of confidence on their part to question what is being discussed, and this is something many of our service users lack.
However, there are steps that can be taken that may help the process:
Step 1 – The service user needs to be clear about whom they wish to be involved in their care, and about the choices they have but, may rely on staff for help to identify more specialist help. This step may involve someone for example who is living in their own home and being cared for by family members. They may not realise there is special equipment to assist them such as a hoist to use for bathing to help them cope and therefore realise they have a choice.
Step 2 – Monitor the process of the arrangements for care as you go. Check the service user is clear about what has happened so far. It is important that the communication method is suitable for service users. If, as an example a service user has a problem reading small print, we need to ensure that there is access to large print versions of the documents made available to them. There may be occasions where English is not the service users first language and an interpreter may be required at each meeting.
Step 3 – You may find that a service user has notes with a previous agency, if this arose you would need to obtain the service users permission to obtain them. Service users need to be informed of all aspects of their care, including the need to contact others for information.
Step 4 – Recording of the above step is necessary and a service user would normally be asked to sign to confirm that they have agreed for certain information to be disclosed. If at any point a service user does not give consent, this must be respected.
Step 5 – Obtain feedback . Just as we need to monitor the process throughout , we must ensure that feedback from the service user, family and friends requested regularly. Positive feedback will mean the process is working well. However, any concerns must always be dealt with in an efficient and non judgemental way. If a service user wishes to make a complaint, it is up to the manager to ensure they are supported to do so by staff accessing the correct procedures to do so.
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