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Extracts from Options Review Report for the Ministry of Health 2017

Author: Tautoko Support Services/Wednesday, 12 April 2017/Categories: News

The service focus on person-centred service is well-supported by the introduction in 2011 of Helen Sanderson Associates tools to guide conversations and capture information for service planning. An important tool in planning is the use of one-page profiles that document what is important to the person, how to support them and how to keep them safe. People say they are valuable for helping new staff understand them, and staff have also developed one-page profiles to enhance their own working relationships.

Action plans are developed and staff are carefully matched to each person based on their individual identified needs and aspirations. Two or more support workers are selected to work with a person, maybe chosen for different roles depending on the needs or preferences of the person. Staff are well-matched to people they support and develop authentic relationships with them that were observed to be warm and comfortable. Both staff and the people they support talked about a sincere liking and mutual respect they have for each other. Families also commented on this. These strong relationships enable staff to support people ‘with the lightest touch’ to achieve maximum independence.

People supported by the service live purposeful, self-directed and full lives in their own homes. They use mainstream services and develop natural relationships in their own community. Many people are in paid employment and others are in volunteer roles or in study.

Surveys conducted by people being supported show a very high level of satisfaction with the way staff talk to them, listen to them and respect them. Progress is assessed and goals reviewed at regular catch-up meetings to check that support is effective in meeting their needs and goals. Staff support is holistic, tailored to the specific needs of a wide range of individuals, and remains flexible enough to adapt even on a day-to-day basis to the person’s changing needs. Everyone is involved in the continual process of measuring, reflection and questioning about what is working or not working for people.

Family members are encouraged to be involved with the permission of people supported. The service helps to maintain and strengthen family ties and family members spoken to say they have a lot of confidence in the service. They commented on the genuine concern that staff show, the way they stay in touch and the improvements they have seen.

Respect for the individual and ‘assisting people to take the lead in their own lives’ is basic to the person-centred approach. Planning focusses on one-page profiles that document what is important to the person, how to support them and how to keep them safe. A key approach for doing this is by ‘listening deeply to the person’.

Helen Sanderson tools are used at each step of the planning and review cycle to help clarify roles and responsibilities and establish whether support is needed for a particular activity. For example, one tool used to enhance independence and minimize intrusion is the Doughnut. This is a model that identifies core staff job responsibilities and expectations; areas where they can be creative and use their own judgment; and other areas that are totally outside of service responsibilities. Identifying what is not their business is seen as a key way for staff to stay focussed on their job.

The service helps to maintain and strengthen family ties with the person’s consent. Family members spoken to have a lot of confidence in the service and feel well-informed about what is happening. They know how to make a complaint and say they can ring the Team Leader at any time and feel listened to. They can raise concerns at catch-up meetings and get feedback. They are happy with progress made:

The service has taken a lot of pressure off us, it’s wonderful, I’m really pleased

He has become more independent, secure and more aware of other people’s needs

We can do things as a family with her that wouldn’t have been possible in the past

Staff say, ‘if that’s not working, let’s see what will work’

The team leader always keeps me up-to-date and stays in touch

Staff are genuinely concerned

He genuinely likes both of his support workers

We couldn’t feel happier, they do a marvellous job


The service has a comprehensive Quality Continuous Improvement Framework that reflects the process of assessing ‘what’s working and what’s not working’ used with clients. It incorporates outcome measures, incidents, complaints, surveys, risk assessment reviews and 360o staff performance reviews for Service Leaders and Team Leaders.

The match achieved between the values and practices of this service is very impressive. There are no requirements or recommendations arising from this report.

If you would like to know more about Options

contact Marie in Nelson 03 546 9391 – 027 230 0621

or Carol in Palmerston North 06 353 2242 – 021 705 452

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