2.1 The right to choose
How do you support someone to make healthier choices, while respecting their right to make their own decisions?
Activity 2 The cheese sandwich
Jimmy lives by himself. He has help from a support worker to prepare his evening meal. When Jimmy’s parents visit, she tells them Jimmy will only eat cheese sandwiches for dinner. His parents are anxious about this as it is not a healthy diet. But the support worker believes it is Jimmy’s right to choose.
Which of the following might help a support worker resolve this issue while still respecting Jimmy’s right to choose?
1. Find out what Jimmy is eating the rest of the day to build up a picture of his overall diet
2. Check that Jimmy understands what his choices are
3. Encourage Jimmy to have a tomato or some coleslaw with the sandwich
4. Find out how his family have encouraged Jimmy to vary his diet in the past
5. Take over cooking Jimmy’s meals
6. Find out if Jimmy needs more help with shopping or learning how to cook
7. Find out if Jimmy is choosing a simple quick meal because his favourite TV programme is on at the time
8. Tell Jimmy he can only have a cheese sandwich three times a week
The correct answers are a, b, c, d, f and g.
All but 5 and 8 are actions you could take while respecting Jimmy’s rights to choose.
In this activity you explored some of the issues in making positive lifestyle choices, while respecting people’s rights as adults to make choices. Balancing respect for people’s right to choose with encouragement to make healthy choices will never be easy, and requires empathy and imagination.
In the next section you will explore the quality of healthcare for people with learning disabilities.