Planning To Leave an ATU

With huge thanks to Sam Sly for allowing us to reproduce these really helpful documents on the blog:

 

Life Plan & Support Plan Days

What needs to be done?

 

A Life Plan and Support Plan will ensure a child/person has a great life now and in the future. The planning process must be based on the knowledge and skills of the people that know them best. The planning days are ‘facilitative’; listening, and recording what the person, their family and people who know them well want for the person, know they need and agree how it will be provided.

A Life Plan day is the what’ part of the planning process; what will they do? What is needed in the way of housing? What help is needed? What are their hopes and dreams? This is also the opportunity for those that know the person well and respect and admire them to think positively about the future for them. You cannot design plans for a person’s life based on their deficits. Some people/children will find coming to this day difficult, so enough time has to be spent with them in the weeks beforehand preparing, getting to know them and gathering their views, wishes, hopes and dreams to be able to present these at the Life Plan day if they do not want to attend.

The Support Plan Day is the how to’ part of the planning process. It is important that any future support provider or personal assistants attend as this will be the plan that they will follow to support the person well. This day looks at the detail of how to help the person both through paid support, citizenship and natural networks and for people who may be complex includes looking carefully at the times when things are not going well for them. Some people/children will find coming to this day difficult, so enough time has to be spent with them in the weeks beforehand preparing, getting to know them and gathering their views, wishes, hopes and dreams to be able to present these at the Support Plan day if they do not want to attend.

It is vitally important that at both days either the person, their advocate and/or their family/loved ones attend. You cannot plan for a person without their input or the input of someone they trust. It is also important that everyone knows why they are attending, that they are the right people to contribute (knows the person well) and that they give the most they can to the process. For this to happen the days have to be planned well.

What you need to know about a Life Plan day

 IT IS IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE ATTENDING THE DAY CAN STAY FOR THE WHOLE DAY

  • The person and/or their advocate and/or their loved one/s must be present
  • If you know the person well and care about them, you need to be there! Your contribution is really important
  • The person and their family will be asked to talk about their life so far and this can be quite emotional
  • The day should be held somewhere that the person or their loved one/s feel comfortable and able to talk (they should choose the venue)
  • It will take the best part of a day (usually from about 10am-3/4pm)
  • It is a positive day looking at the person’s hopes and dreams and what they want for the future (we will not be looking in detail about a person’s deficits)
  • The Life Plan day will result in what the whole service will look like for the person including purpose, freedom, money, home, help, life and love. This can then be used to inform an Individual budget or Individual service fund
  • It’s empowering and a positive experience but is hard work and you may leave feeling drained!!

What you need to know about a Support Plan day

 IT IS IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE ATTENDING THE DAY CAN STAY FOR THE WHOLE DAY

  • It will take the best part of a day (usually from about 10am-3/4pm)
  • It is important that any selected support provider or personal assistants attend as this plan will involve what they are expected to do to help the person
  • The day will involve exploring all the safety issues associated with the person living a good life
  • If you work closely with the person, especially when things haven’t been good for them in respect of managing challenging behaviour or health needs, then you should attend
  • The purpose of the day must be explained to the person and their family and they must be invited to the Support Plan day and asked if they wish to attend. Some people chose not to attend this day as it involved talking about problems and can be upsetting and unsettling. If the person does not attend they must have representation though an advocate or family, and the final plan must be agreed by all involved
  • It can be a difficult day and there will be lots of facilitated discussion and debate until a consensus in reached about the most positive ways to support the person in all circumstances.
  • It is a tiring day and can be quite emotional
  • The Support Plan day will result in a person-centred, multi-agency agreed written document detailing how the person will be helped to get and keep a good life particularly when things are not going well for them. It is expected that anyone helping the person will work to this support plan.

These are the tasks that need to be done by those people planning the days. It is important that everyone works together.

Get to know the person, help them prepare if they are attending the meetings by gathering information in whatever format they chose to present it in. Get to know what their hopes and dreams for the future are, what kinds of people they like to be helped by, where they want to live, what they want to do with their lives, what their strengths, skills and talents are and what a good life looks like to them (they may want to present this information via video, pictures or written information). The more preparation you are able to do the better!

  1. Inform the person, family, relevant staff and professionals about process and what they will be asked to contribute. (I am happy to do this if the supporting agency will let me know contact details). Each part of the process can take the best part of a day so people need to put this amount of time aside.
  2. Invite the right people to attend It is important to think of inviting anyone who may have played an important part in the person’s life from the present and in the past (friends, relatives, key staff, special people) especially if they no longer live at home, or have had many changes in their lives. This enables some discussion, and resolution on issues that people may have differing opinions on. People’s histories are often lost when they move and information from the past is always useful for planning for the future.
  3. Remind attendees they must stay for the whole time. Giving up one day to plan for someone whose life may have been blighted by poor services, constant moves, rejection and institutionalisation is not a lot of time to give to get things right for them, especially if you think of the time it would take to sort out the problems caused by getting things wrong.
  4. Agree attendees (with person/family). The person should be in control of who attends and no one should be invited that the person/family do not want there. It is imperative though that those who know the person best attend, and that family and the person attend. It is also useful if the commissioner of the service is in attendance so that agreement to implement the plan can be made.
  5. Agree and book a venue (with person/family) Discussion is needed with the person and those closest to them when deciding what would make a great venue that would help them be engaged e.g. if someone is a major footie fan, maybe hiring space at their football club would make this a pleasure for them. Or if food is important somewhere the group can share a meal. It is always preferably to have the meeting at a community venue and not in ‘Serviceland’. We should remember that people often do not like meetings as in the past these may have been very negative, dealing only with the problems where people and families have not felt listened to. Therefore, the venue should be a place where the person would feel like it is enjoyable not a trauma. This may incur an additional cost but this is well worth it for getting a far superior plan.
  6. Agree a date.
  7. Confirm attendance with participants the week before the planning meetings to ensure everyone is still able to come.

 Venue requirements

  • Big enough for people attending. Blank walls to put up big bits of paper with all that has been said so that everyone can see what has been discussed and be involved in the decision making
  • Make sure venue is pleasant
  • If the person is not present photos of the person are useful so that people attending are reminded who is being discussed
  • Informal set up – not boardroom style, with chairs so everyone can see each other, the information being written up and the paper on the walls.
  • Make sure refreshments are available throughout the day.
  • Make sure a lunch is available and suitable for all including those with vegetarian or other dietary choices.
  • Somewhere with parking if people need to travel by car there

During the meetings

 It is important that the person has a dedicated staff member, if they are attending, at the meetings if they attend so that they can have the freedom to come and go and be supported as they choose.

  • Discussion will take place about whether the person/family wish to have an Individual Budget/Individual Service Fund to fund any paid services
  • It is important that attendees are respectful of one another. The meeting is about the person and should centre of the person
  • Actively listen to one another’s views
  • It is important in the meetings to go over decisions made in a way that the person understands to ensure it is what they agreed to.
  • It is important that attendees all contribute, even if there are disagreements and this is the place to discuss and iron out differences.
  • It is important that the person and attendees know what the next steps will be.

After the meetings

The notes from the meeting will be written up and circulated to attendees for checking and alterations before finalising

  • The Life Plan and Support Plan will then form the starting points for the service development and delivery involving paid and natural support and will become living organic documents that will be updated by the person’s circle of support as things change
  • The notes will form any proposal for use of an Individual Personal/Health/Education Budget or Individual Service Fund
  • The documents are ‘live’ plans that should be updated as and when a child/person’s needs change with achievements celebrated.

Design for Life & Support Plan Days

Family Information & Preparation

 A Design for Life and a Support Plan will ensure we are all working together as a team to enable a person to have a great life. The planning process is based on the knowledge and skills of the people that know them best. The planning days (one for the Design for Life and one for the Support Plan) are ‘facilitative’; listening, and recording what the person, their family and people who know them well want for the person, know they need and agree how it will be provided. Therefore it is important that the person & family spend some time preparing for the day. There are no fixed agendas, the discussion will be guided by those people attending however the day could include the areas below.

A Design for Life day is the what’ part of the planning process; what will they do with their time? What is needed in the way of housing? What is needed in the way of help? What are their hopes and dreams? How will it be funded? This is also the opportunity for those that know the person well and respect and admire them to think positively about the future for them. You cannot design plans for a person’s life based on their deficits. Some people/children will find coming to this day difficult, so enough time has to be spent with them in the weeks beforehand preparing, getting to know them and gathering their views, wishes, hopes and dreams to be able to present these at the Design for Life day if they do not want to attend. Our experience is however that people/children usually enjoy the day as it is an upbeat, positive experience and often unlike ‘meetings’ they have experienced before.

 The Support Plan Day is the how to’ part of the planning process and happens when detailed service support is required. It is important that any future support provider or personal assistants attend as this will be the plan that they will follow to support the person well. This day looks at the detail of how to help the person both through paid support, citizenship and natural networks and for people who may be complex includes looking carefully at the times when things are not going well for them. Some people/children will find coming to this day difficult, so enough time has to be spent with them in the weeks beforehand preparing, getting to know them and gathering their views, wishes, hopes and dreams to be able to present these at the Support Plan day if they do not want to attend.

It is vitally important that at both days either the person, their advocate and/or their family/loved ones attend. You cannot plan for a person without their input or the input of someone they trust. It is also important that everyone knows why they are attending, that they are the right people to contribute (people that know the person well) and that they give the most they can to the process. For this to happen the days have to be planned well.

Family preparation for the Design for Life Day

You may want to come prepared with some notes

We will start by looking at the person’s life so far from birth and obviously the family are key to this. You may want to come with notes or a written chronology of the person’s life or just make sure you remember key bits! We want to learn from what has happened to the family and person good and not so good; consider the birth, what help you did or did not get, family times, nursery, school and college, people that had an impact and those who did not, things the person loved doing, skills and talents that they had as a child that may or may not have been lost and anything else that will help others understand the journey you have been through as a family.

Other areas that the meeting may look at are the person’s:

  • Likes and dislikes (now and in the past)
  • What is important to them (routines, people and things that make them happy, settled and alleviates anxiety etc.)
  • Hobbies and interests (now and in the past)
  • Who is important to them and what role they will continue to play
  • Education and life-long learning
  • What people like and admire about them
  • Who they get on with; personalities, characteristics etc. (now and in the past)
  • Who they didn’t get on with and why!
  • What a perfect team would look like
  • How they are their family want to be involved in recruiting and managing the team
  • Hopes/Fears and dreams for the future (short and long term & should include family views)
  • How they communicate and make decisions (what support they may need)
  • Resilience; how has the person and the family kept strong
  • What a good day looks like (now and in the past)
  • What a good week looks like
  • How does the person show us they are happy or not
  • Where does the person want to live (what would their dream home be like or if still with the family what would the dream situation be)

By thinking about these areas before you attend the Design for Life day you as a family should feel better prepared to contribute to the overall plan for the future of your loved one.

Family preparation for the Support Plan Day

You may want to come prepared with some notes

The Support Plan day is plan for the detailed support that the person may require and this is particularly important if there is going to be a lot of support required or multi agency input. It is a day when we discuss all aspects of physical, and alternative support and also support when things are not going so well particularly if the person needs consistency to keep them safe, healthy and well. This meeting should be attended by people that work with the person (including specialists) and know them well, and people who have experience of supporting the person to stay safe, healthy and well.

You might want to think about:

  • Important routines and tasks that keep the person safe, healthy and well (for any medical and physical needs)
  • If the person communicates through behaviours that ‘challenge’ what these behaviours are and how they have been supported well in the past and now
  • Support required for daily tasks and routines
  • Support with communication
  • Anything else you think people supporting the person needs to know