[dropcap style=” box,”]P[/dropcap]lanning is a big part of service provision. Supporting a person to plan their life is a massive undertaking. Think of your own life and if someone supported you to plan for every part of your day, year, life. And what would you see as the key factor of success in the plan? That the plan was meticulous, well documented, followed prescribed formats, maybe. But what about if the plan took you somewhere you did not want to go? [one_half_last][responsive]
[separator headline=”h3″ title=”Lucy’s Plan”] This week the Guardian ran a story recounting the life of Lucy Glennon (read the article here). A young writer and disability activist, who sadly passed away at the age of 29. Lucy had a diagnosis of epidermolysis bullosa, that meant she lived throughout her life in considerable pain. The piece talked about what Lucy wanted out of life and her pursuit of her dreams to become a writer and live independently. Indeed she was a lively contributor to many twitter threads, on one occasion discussing the limitations of twerking in a wheelchair.
The piece also talked about how the recent changes in the UK, in relation to supports for people with disability; the group hit the hardest by the austerity programme; had impacted on Lucy’s quality of life. Supported by her family, friends, especially her good friend and fellow activist K Franklin, Lucy managed to maintain her independence, but not without many anxious and stressful times.
The piece is the essence of person centredness. Lucy had a very clear view of her vision of a desirable future; namely become a writer and live independently in her own place. Lucy achieved these goals through the support of a circle of support driven by a strong advocate. Lucy’s goals were the plan. The process was not straightforward, and encountered many barriers, but Lucy’s plan and her dreams were the destination.
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Many services use the term person centredness, but how many times is the plan devised for the person, actually the person’s plan? How many of the people who support a person, has a clear idea of the person vision of a desirable future and support the person to plan for it?
An interesting blog article (read the blog here) by Kate Butler discussed the story of her sister, Sophie, and how the Muiriosa Foundation service in the Midlands had supported her to live independently. The service took the money provided for Sophie’s day care and instead used the money to support her independent living. It was not something anyone felt Sophie could do, but she did it, with the supports, and moved out into her own home. ( I always think that if my mum decided when I could have moved out of home and become independent, when she determined I was ready, I would still be sitting in my family home, twiddling my thumbs). Kate said that Sophie did not visit her old home for many weeks, probably fearing if she went back home she would not be allowed back to her own house ((Kate suggested there may be a grain of truth in this). But now Sophie is living independently and has support from the Foundation.
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What these two stories give us is the possibilities of something different. If we believe that people with disability deserve equality and to live the lifes they want to live, then services should support the person to spell out what their visions are and ensure they happen. The plan then needs a strong advocate and a desire to move in the direction the person has charted. It begs the question , where are services headed, if not in the direction required by the people, they were set up to support?
[box style=”1 “]Person Centred Planning is covered as part of the College’s degree the BA Applied Social Studies (Disability). Click here to find out more.[/box]