Whilst nurses use their specialised skills when appropriate, for example to assess an individual’s health and care needs, co-ordinate a range of staff to support them and oversee clinical activities such as administering medicines and helping prevent pressure sores, they also talk to and work with individual clients to ensure those clients have the maximum influence over their lives. It is tempting to use skills and experience to focus primarily on “directing” or “doing” the technical and clinical tasks which are required. However, the evidence suggests that people do better when they are listened to and actively involved in their own care and support 1 . For care staff, enabling people to continue to do simple tasks like making a cup of tea or tidying away clothes can be of huge importance to someone who senses control over their life gradually slipping away.
1 2 Voice, choice and control For busy staff and professionals, this can be a tough ask. It requires insight, patience and a real sense of the personal dignity of the client. Yet ensuring that individuals retain voice, choice and control over as many aspects of their lives as they can, for as long as they can, is a key success factor for social care. This can be achieved through a person-centred approach which understands someone’s personal history, current circumstances, future aspirations and what is important to them.