Person-Centered Planning

Person-centered planning gives individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities more freedom to choose the types of services that best fit their personal needs. In partnership with their service providers, they set their own goals and play an active role in developing their life plans alongside their care managers. Person-centered planning provides individuals with I/DD greater autonomy and individualized care.

How Agencies Can Incorporate Person-Centered Planning

Person-centered planning gives providers the chance to work in greater partnership with their clients to help them achieve their individual wishes. If you think integrating person-centered principles into your agency’s work will help you to deliver an even higher quality of care, here are a couple tips to get you started:

Infuse Your Agency with Person-Centered Ideals.

Empower your staff to care for individuals while also promoting greater independence. Many individuals with I/DD will need help setting goals, managing their services, and finding meaningful employment. Training your staff in person-centered thinking will help them find the balance between caring for individuals with I/DD while still promoting personal autonomy.

Technology Can Equip Your Agency to Support More Mobile and Home-Based Services.

More than ever, you’ll need technology to help you keep track of clients, manage your billing, and maintain auditing compliance when your services take place within client communities. Having an easy-to-use, comprehensive electronic record will enable your staff to focus on their work and easily track data regardless of where their services take place. This will become increasingly important as more services occur in various locations throughout clients’ communities.

Practice Person-Centered Planning in Developing Service Plans.

Person-centered planning involves planning services for clients as individuals rather than a population. By taking into account an individual’s personal priorities, needs, and strengths, agencies can develop service plans that focus on a person’s unique talents.

Bringing person-centered planning into your agency can be as simple as asking individuals what is specifically important to them when creating service plans. You can also teach your staff to affirm clients in their individual choices and accomplishments, and recognize that what is important to clients can vary widely from person to person. Modifying your service planning templates and providing staff with specific training on person-centered planning can help your staff ask the right questions.

With your specialized knowledge, your agency is a perfect resource to help individuals with I/DD successfully accomplish their personal goals. Starting with the right tools and a couple of cultural adjustments, your agency can be a vital support for individuals seeking a person-centered approach.

Why Use People-First Language in Person-Centered Planning?

Everyday language can significantly impact how your clients feel about themselves and their lives. People-first language can help you bring person-centered thinking into your agency by promoting greater autonomy for individuals with I/DD. It can help encourage greater self-esteem and celebrate their individuality.

What Is People-First Language?

People-first language puts people before their disabilities, recognizing them as individuals rather than defining them by their disabilities. In changing how you speak to and about your clients with I/DD, you can help change the way they feel about themselves and the way society interacts with them.

You can practice people-first language by talking about a person’s disabilities as something they have, rather than something that defines who they are. For example, you can say that a person “has a disability” rather than they “are disabled.” You can also speak about wheelchairs or any other assistive technology as tools rather than barriers. People-first language also includes referring to locations as “accessible” rather than “handicapped.”

How Can My Agency Use People-First Language?

People-first language can be brought into every aspect of your agency, from your handbooks to staff training sessions. Advocating for staff to use people-first language in their personal lives will also help bring person-centered thinking into their daily lives.

We at Foothold are very passionate about people-first language. In this blog, one of our own implementation consultants talks about why it matters to her. In fact, we have even designed our electronic documentation software to incorporate people-first language in the interface and forms to ensure the needs of your clients are always prioritized.

People-first language aims to promote an individual’s own sense of autonomy. Helping your staff understand and use this language in their everyday work can be a small change that will greatly enhance the well-being of your clients. By incorporating this language in your handbooks, client records, and service planning, you can make people-first language a key component of your agency’s culture.

“By adopting People First Language, I know that I am allowing a person to define themselves and never allowing my words to limit a person’s potential and dreams.”
Meghan Branca
Implementation Consultant,
Foothold Technology

How to Use Technology for Person-Centered Planning

Individuals with I/DD pursuing person-centered care will often choose to receive their services in multiple locations throughout their communities. That’s why having the right technology tools will help your agency staff easily coordinate and track these activities.

Here are some of the most important pieces of technology that can help your agency bring person-centered principles into your work and help your staff coordinate services:

A Configurable Software with Flexible Service Planning

You’ll need an easy-to-use electronic documentation system to house all your service plans. An extremely configurable electronic documentation software will help you build personalized service plans, track the specifics of each person’s plan, and coordinate services across multiple providers throughout client communities.

Electronic Medication Tracking

Easily accessible eMARs help your staff track when and how medications are given to their clients. Accessible from any location and always up to date, eMARS help ensure medication is given properly and on-time.

Apps for Accessibility

A variety of mobile apps and websites can help individuals with I/DD navigate their communities with a bit more ease and independence. AXSMap is an online map where users rate and leave comments on the accessibility of local restaurants and shops. JABtalk is an app that helps transform text to speech, and is built to be easy to use for children as well as adults.

Person-centered planning requires more tracking, coordination, and communication across providers and programs than ever before.