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Posted on 02/11/2020

Maximising independence, choice and control

The cornerstone of everything we seek to achieve for our clients is maximising their independence, choice and control. These principles run throughout all ENA services, no matter what the needs or health challenges of our clients, and are vitally important to every member of our team, from our live-in carers to our office support staff.

Many people who seek out our services do so because they feel they’ve lost, partly or completely, these three vital elements in their life, either through using health services or other social care services. Traditionally people who need care and support are assumed to need everything done for them which means a loss of independence. Combine that with a loss of choice and control and it results in increasing vulnerability and dependence, both of which negatively impact the person’s physical and mental health.

Why are independence, choice and control so important?

Most of us take our independence, and the ability to make choices and control our lives, for granted. For this reason, losing these elements can often happen silently and slowly without us even realising it’s happening, particularly if we have health conditions that we are focusing on. Yet ask anyone if they value their independence and the ability to make their own choices and control their lives and most people would answer with a resounding YES.

This is because these three elements are key to our personhood and autonomy. Indeed, we see this reflected in the Mental Capacity Act, where the five key principles https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2005/9/section/1 include:

“A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity. A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success. A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision.”

The reference to an ‘unwise decision’ is a nod towards the ability to make our own choices, however much others may disagree with them, and is a timely reminder that having the independence to make our own choices and control our own lives is part of what makes us human. Only at a point where a person lacks mental capacity should others step in, and that intervention must still meet the criteria of being in the person’s best interests.

ENA live-in care – The ideal way to maximise a person’s independence, choice and control

Being able to live in your own home, surrounded by your own possessions, and with a live-in carer who is dedicated solely to the care and support of just one person (for up to 12 weeks at a time) ideally lends itself to maximising a person’s independence, choice and control in a way that no other type of social care support can.

Our commitment to a person’s independence, choice and control begins before the person’s live-in carer moves into their home, with a personalised care plan that’s created with the person (and their family if applicable) that has these three elements running through it. Examples include how the person will be supported with personal care (which is a highly sensitive area of support that must allow a person as much independence, choice and control as possible), medical procedures (for example in the case of spinal injury care or complex care, eating and drinking, and hobbies and activities to ensure that the person can be as independent as possible, make their own choices and exercise control over their life.

How our live-in carers seek to maximise a person’s independence, choice and control

Every aspect of a person’s day-to-day life is about putting them in control as much as possible, seeing how much they can do, supporting them to go further if they are able to (for example if they are rehabilitating from a stroke, and being there for them side-by-side if they need additional support. Our live-in carers are always guided by the person, knowing that for many of our clients their abilities may fluctuate from day-to-day (for example if the person is living with Parkinson’s or dementia. We are also committed to ensuring that a person going through end-of-life care is able to experience as much independence, choice and control as possible, obviously whilst constantly monitoring the person’s health.

At all times our live-in carers will guard against any frustration or feelings of failure a person may experience if they are unable to do something for themselves, make a choice or exercise control over an aspect of their life.

Find out more about how ENA Care Group could support you or your family by calling 08004 334 413 or emailing care@ena.co.uk.