Caring for adults
Caring for adults

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Caring for adults

4 Person-centred care and self-management

Working in a person-centred way and encouraging people to manage aspects of their own care is good for you and for the person or people you are caring for. A person-centred approach to care will focus on the individual’s personal needs and goals, which brings them to the centre of the support they are receiving.

This topic looks at encouraging the people you support to take some responsibility for their own care and management. This is important for their well-being and also gives you some time to enjoy the person you are supporting. Supporting the cared-for person in the way that works best for them leads to better emotional and physical well-being for both parties.

Activity 5

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Listen to this audio podcast about meeting the needs of Jackie, who has a visual impairment.

[This audio is provided for use within the course only.]

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Living with visual impairment
Skip transcript: Living with visual impairment

Transcript: Living with visual impairment

Living with visual impairment: nurse support

I needed the nurses to comfort me, which sounds quite a strange term to use. I wanted sympathy, which again is not a term that you would often use with anybody with an impairment or a disability, but because I was so, I’ll say ill, at that time, I just needed somebody to look after me. I also needed the nurses to believe in me because sometimes with this type of impairment it is not visible to the other person – I can only describe and explain what I’m seeing or feeling or hearing etcetera – and when you haven’t got a diagnosis as such, as I hadn’t at that time, you haven’t got anything to hang it on so I needed the nurses to believe what I was saying and to comfort me and to calm me.
Independence to anybody with any type of impairment is extremely important but the road to independence is quite long and arduous. At the beginning you are mostly dependent on people and you do need that sympathy, you do need that support and you do need that help to get through the initial symptoms of what you are experiencing. As you learn to live with the impairment, then you need to be able to take control of your life and this is where nurses can play a big role, by being able to give the power to the person with the impairment. It’s very easy to want to do things for people but that's not actually helping anybody in the long run; you need to enable that person to do things for themselves. You talk to them, you ask them what they want to do, you ask them what they think they can do for themselves and you try and just push them a little bit more each time. But again you have to be very clever here and you need to note when that person needs to stop, they need to just pull back a bit and they need some support. So for a nurse it is very difficult here because you don’t know how a person is going to be. You don’t know exactly how much dependence and independence he or she might need at any particular time so you have to read that person on not only a day-to-day basis but perhaps an hourly basis at some times when there are certain things going on, but promoting independence is one of the main roles that a nurse can provide for somebody with impairment.
End transcript: Living with visual impairment
Living with visual impairment
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Jackie talks about how she needed not only support but also empowerment from her carers. Try to put yourself in the role of Jackie’s carer, and think about how you would support someone with a visual impairment without making them feel they are losing their independence.

  • How do you think Jackie feels?
  • What could be done to improve Jackie’s quality of life?
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Jackie was worried about not having a diagnosis for her condition, and felt that the healthcare team would not notice her symptoms. Her carer would need to remain supportive and attentive, asking her to speak about how she was feeling and what support she needed.

Jackie talks about the balance between allowing a person the independence to carry out everyday tasks, and supporting them to do so. Jackie’s independence is important to her so you would need to think of ways to make her feel independent, such as helping her to find out about aids to enable her to carry out tasks on her own, but still being on hand to offer support should she need it.

Jackie may benefit from assistive technology to improve her quality of life, such as a large keyboard or talking telephone, books in large print or Braille. Assistive technology is covered in Section 4 of this course; see Topic 2, ‘Promoting independence [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ’.


Did you know if you study a paid part-time course with the OU in Wales you could get up to £4,500* to help with your living costs?

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*Eligibility rules apply for financial support.