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Recently we have introduced a new way of thinking and providing services in the various programs we offer at PDACL . This philosophy is called Person Centered Planning and will change and challenge some of the ways we have traditionally delivered our services.

Person Centred Planning is a way of helping people think about what they want now and in the future. It is about supporting people to plan their lives, work towards their goals and get the right support. It is a collection of tools and approaches based upon a set of shared values that can be used to plan with a person - not for them. Planning should build the person's circle of support and involve all the people who are important in that person's life. Person Centred Planning is built on the values of inclusion and looks at what support a person needs to be included and involved in their community. Person centred approaches offer an alternative to traditional types of planning which are based upon the medical model of disability and which are set up to assess need, allocate services and make decisions for people.

There are a number of tools for person centred planning. They all follow the same principles; the person is at the centre, family and friends are partners in planning, the plan focuses on gifts and capacities and looks to the future. Furthermore, planning builds a shared commitment to action, and is an on-going process. Which tool we use depends upon the person and their life.

One such tool is the creation of Living Descriptions. This tool was developed by Essential Lifestyle Planning Learning Community as a way to start finding out what is important to and for people in their everyday lives. Living Descriptions provide a capacity description of a person focusing on what others like and admire about them, what’s important to them and what we need to know or do to provide good support.

The staff at PDACL were all trained in Person Centered Thinking skills at a two day workshop they attended in November, 2009. They have begun to use the tools within their respective programs and ongoing discussions and follow up has been provided by management as well as during staff meetings. We are excited about this new initiative and look forward to the positive outcomes this will have for our participants.


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