Once you have helped an individual to set their goals within the context of what’s really important to them, and developed a shared understanding of what is helping them and what is getting in the way, then it is time to agree the action plan or “to do list”.
“How could I change this to achieve my goal?”
The first step is to encourage the individual to reflect on what is helping them and what is getting in the way, and then to ask themselves: “How could I change this [to achieve my goal]?”
The aim is to generate a set of opportunities for improvement that support the overall achievement of the goal. For each opportunity for change, the individual should also ask “What help do I need?”
“What help do I need?”
The response to this may generate both explicit and implicit support needs. For example, the person may identify a clear need to access some information or be signposted to a particular service or activity. On the other hand, their response may imply problems with motivation or empowerment. This may be expressed as doubts or a lack of confidence in themselves. It may be through a lack of interest or an
expectation that someone else will ‘do it for them’. It may be helpful to think about the type of support you (and others) can provide around three main areas:
Empowerment (supporting the person):
- Access information;
- Gain confidence;
- Make choices;
- Manage risk;
Motivation (encouraging the person):
- Focus on the positives
- Support participation
- Set realistic expectations
Capability (helping the person to):
- Develop new skills;
- Access equipment;
- Use adaptations and assistive technology.
Underpinning all interactions are effective communications both in terms of communicating effectively with the individual and also helping the person to communicate effectively with others.
The involvement of close family members, partners and informal carers, as well as other care professionals, working with the individual will result in a plan that has the most chance of success.
The output from the action planning stage can take a range of different forms but in essence it will be: an agreed set of ‘action points’ that makes clear who is going to do what and by when. The action plan then becomes the basis for review and follow-up.