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Person Centred Planning (PCP) is a life planning model designed to enable individuals with disabilities to increase their personal self-determination. PCP was adopted as government policy in the United Kingdom through the 'Valuing People' White Paper in 2001, and is accepted practice in many countries throughout the world. It is most often used for life planning with people with learning and developmental disabilities.
PCP recognises that traditional models of planning for service provision have operated around the individual receiving the service, with family members and professionals (such as doctors, psychiatrists, support workers and social workers) making decisions regarding the types of support received. PCP offers an alternative to such models, striving to place the individual at the centre of decision-making. It is based on the values of human rights, independence, choice and social inclusion, and is designed to enable people to direct their own services and supports, rather than attempting to fit within pre-existing service systems.
PCP was developed by a number of thinkers in the 1980's in the USA and Canada, such as John O'Brien, Beth Mount, Connie Lyle O'Brien, Jack Pearpoint, Marsha Forest and Michael Smull. Leading advocates of PCP in the UK include Helen Sanderson.
PCP utilises a number of techniques, with the central premise that any methods used must be reflective of the individual's personal communication mechanisms and assist them to outline their needs, wishes and goals. There is no differentiation between the process used and the output and outcomes of the PCP; instead it pursues social inclusion through inclusive means.
Person Centred Thinking Skills, Total Communication techniques, Graphic Facilitation of Meetings and Problem Solving skills are some methods commonly used in the development of a person centred plan, as are PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows With Hope) Circles, MAPS, Personal Futures Planning and Essential Lifestyle Planning.
The resultant plan may be in any format that is accessible to the individual, such as a document, a drawing or an oral plan recorded onto a tape or compact disc. Multimedia techniques are becoming more popular for this type of planning as development costs decrease and the technology used becomes more readily available. Plans are updated as and when the individual wishes to make changes, or when a goal or aspiration is achieved.
The key advocates of PCP and associated Person Centred Approaches warn of the danger of adopting the model in a bureaucratic way - adopting the 'form' of PCP, without the philosophical content. In this way, services are expected to be responsive to the needs of service users, rather than prescriptive in the types of services offered. These principles are reliant on mechanisms such as individualised funding packages and the organisational capacity to design and deliver bespoke services. It is essential that organisations and agencies providing services make a commitment to strive for person-centredness in all of their activities, which can result in major changes in areas of practice such as recruitment, staff training, and business planning and management.
PCP tools can be very powerful methods of focussed listening, creative thinking and alliance building that have been shown both by experience and by research to make a significant impact in the lives of people with learning disabilities, when used imaginatively by people with a commitment to person-centredness. Used well, with enthusiasm and commitment, these tools can be an excellent way of planning with people who might otherwise find it difficult to plan their lives, or who find that other people and services are planning their lives for them.
- Independent living
- Disability rights movement
- Social model of disability
- Social role valorization
- Maslow's hierarchy of needs
- Cambridge, P. and Carnaby, S. 2005. Person Centred Planning and Care Management with People with Learning Disabilities. Jessica Kingsley Publishing, London.
- Falvey, MA., Forest, M., Pearpoint, J. and Rosenberg, RL. 1997. All My Life’s a Circle. Using the tools: Circles, MAPS & PATHS. Inclusion Press, Toronto.
- O'Brien, J. and Lyle O'Brien, C. 1988. A Little Book About Person Centred Planning. Inclusion Press, Toronto.
- Perske, R. 1988. Circles Of Friends. Abingdon Press, Nashville.
- Sanderson, H., Kennedy, K., Ritchie, P. and Goodwin G. 1997. People, Plans and Possibilities: Exploring person centred planning. SHS, Edinburgh
- Sanderson, H. and Smull, M. 2005. Essential Lifestyle Planning for Everyone. Helen Sanderson Associates, London.
- Writings of John and Connie Lyle O'Brien
- Essential Lifestyle Planning Network
- Common Sense Tools on the Incluson Network
- The Impact of Person Centred Planning (pdf)
- The Circles Network - What is Person Centred Planning?
- Key articles on person centred planning on the www.isja.org.uk directory
- Key Papers on 'Valuing People (2001)'
- British Institute of Learning Disabilities Factsheet on Person Centred Planning
- Skillnet Group - Guide on how to do a person centred plan
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