Caring for adults
Caring for adults

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Caring for adults

4.2 A different approach to support

Nottinghamshire County Council has developed a scheme called a strengths-based approach. The strengths-based approach is also referred to as an ‘assets-based approach’ in Scotland and has been promoted by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) for a number of years. For example, see the IRISS publication Using an assets approach for positive mental health and well-being [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

This type of approach helps to encourage people to become more independent by gradually withdrawing support once the carer can see the person has the skill or strength required to carry out certain tasks independently. This has the benefits of support still being in place as long as the person needs it, while allowing the cared-for person to become increasingly independent and self-sufficient.

In the next activity you will watch a video about Julie, who has mental health problems. Cheryl, from United Response in Nottinghamshire, supported Julie in her efforts to achieve a high level of independence. Julie wanted this independence so that her daughter Leanne, who had been caring for her, could move away from home.

Activity 7

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes
Download this video clip.Video player: Care Act – Promoting independence
Skip transcript: Care Act – Promoting independence

Transcript: Care Act – Promoting independence

Care Act – Promoting independence

Strength-based approach

Taking a strengths based approach – seeing the individual

Julie has mental health difficulties. Her daughter Leanne, a young carer, wanted to move out of home. Julie was assessed by a social worker and offered support from United Response, one of a number of support providers within Nottinghamshire. Julie was introduced to Cheryl, who took a strength-based approach to working with her.

When Cheryl met Julie she

had low self confidence

could not do her own shopping

could not manage her money

didn’t get much exercise

was not developing her art work

was becoming isolated.

[MUSIC PLAYING]
CHERYL PLATTS
I’m Cheryl Platts. I work for United Response, and I support people within their own homes to stay as independent as possible. And I began supporting Julie approximately two years ago. She’s a lady with mental health problems. She lives in her own home and has brought up a family.
JULIE UNDERWOOD
My name is Julie Underwood, and I’ve been having help from Cheryl from Assertive Outreach for the last two years.
LEANNE BETTS
I moved out of home just over two years ago, when Cheryl first started supporting my mum.
CHERYL PLATTS
We spent time getting to know each other and to see what her strengths were and where we could build upon them strengths. Julie needed to build upon her confidence quite a bit. But she already had them strengths within her. It was just about finding the best way to get the strengths out of her.
JULIE UNDERWOOD
Because Leanne was moving out and going to her own home, and she wanted to lead her own life, after being a young carer and looking after me for a number of years. Cheryl came to help with the shopping. She also helped me very much with my confidence and made me more outgoing.
LEANNE BETTS
You used to have panic attacks sometimes, didn’t you?
JULIE UNDERWOOD
Yeah.
LEANNE BETTS
Yeah, she used to get very worked up, and she just wouldn’t be able to cope with it. So I just did it for years and years. So she needed someone else to actually step in.
CHERYL PLATTS
It’s really important to actually get to know that person. So for me to get to know Julie, what her likes are, what’s important to her, and not look at the problems that she’s got.
JULIE UNDERWOOD
I chose Cheryl because I was just attracted to her, and we made a connection straight away.
CHERYL PLATTS
She told me all about her family and the things that really meant a lot to her, so we could make conversations about them.
JULIE UNDERWOOD
And we were discussing art, and we were discussing things I’d like to do for the future, and things I’d like to build on. I think Cheryl picked upon some of my inner strengths and my weak points, helped me with my weak points, and built upon the strengths, and the things that I did have going for me.
CHERYL PLATTS
It’s made Julie feel like a person. She knows that I’m there to help her and not help the problem that she’s got. So it has built up her confidence to be able to know that she can go and do her shopping.
JULIE UNDERWOOD
I can pay all the bills. I’ve lost half a stone in weight over the last few weeks by going swimming.
CHERYL PLATTS
The strength-based approach that we are taking enables Julie to make sure she’s got them links with her family and the neighbours, especially. So if Julie does feel that she’s having a bad day, or if something happens in Julie’s life where she would need some more support from people, rather than her having to call the emergency services or calling some crisis team, she now has them connections and the confidence to be able to pick up a phone, to speak to a family member, to pop round to the neighbours, to gain that help from them before it gets to that crisis point.
JULIE UNDERWOOD
I knew I’d be able to cope. And I knew I had that organisation to fall back on if anything did go wrong.
CHERYL PLATTS
Once we can see that a particular activity or a particular skill is working well for them, I might just drop one little part of that skill or that task that I’ve been doing and encourage them to do it for themselves.
Other organisations could use this way of working because we found that it works really well for us. We strive on being person-centred. We use a number of tools around that to make it work
LEANNE BETTS
It’s support needs, not care needs. And they sound like the same thing, but actually they’re not. If you’re meeting someone’s basic care every moment, you’re doing things for them. But necessarily, people might see that as doing the right thing, where actually, it’s not.
CHERYL PLATTS
Now Julie’s made them connections she feels more confident in herself. So, eventually, we will look at pulling out the support gradually over time. And then we can use our resources with other people that need the help.
[MUSIC PLAYING]

Because of the strength-based approach Julie is now more independent. She has friends and neighbours she can call on in an emergency

does her shopping with Cheryl’s support and is working towards doing this alone

manages her own money

goes swimming

shares her art work with other people and is working on producing her own book.

End transcript: Care Act – Promoting independence
Care Act – Promoting independence
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

As you watch the video, think about what Cheryl did to enable Julie to take the steps towards independence. Make a note of your thoughts.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Comment

The first thing that Cheryl did was to establish a relationship with Julie by finding out what was important to her and what she could already do. Cheryl then built on these foundations to give Julie the confidence that she could manage certain activities independently. These initial steps helped Julie to gain the self-confidence and self-esteem to take further and more difficult steps.

Both women acknowledged that there was a long road ahead but that it couldn’t be rushed. As Cheryl worked with Julie, she would be able to gradually withdraw the level of support and Julie would do more and more for herself.

It was evident from the video how much this has increased Julie’s well-being and that of her daughter, who was also working towards her aim of being able to leave home.

CYM-CFA-E1

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?

Find out more

*Eligibility rules apply for financial support.