With respect to the Organisation’s service users INDEPENDENCE is defined as the right to maximise opportunities to think and act without reference to another person, including a willingness to incur a degree of calculated risk. This means that service users are able to take control over their own lives, making independent choices about their care and daily living activities without fear of reproach by the Care Worker. This Policy summarises the philosophies and arrangements within the Organisation that ensure that these outcomes are achieved:
1. The fundamental objective of the Organisation’s Care Service is to empower the service user to remain in his / her own home and to provide a customised package of assistance and support to enable this to be achieved. The service user is viewed as a unique, autonomous individual and Care Services will be tailored to support and maintain his / her independence, and to maximise dignity, by encouraging the service user to do as much as they can for themselves, within limits of mobility, disability and other relevant physical factors. This will entail an appropriate assessment of the risks involved which will form part of the initial Baseline Assessment of Needs.
2. Service users are encouraged to undertake tasks with the Care Worker where possible. The Organisation’s philosophy is not to increase service user dependency upon others wherever possible and in this respect Care Workers will not normally undertake tasks which the service user could well do himself / herself. This will have been subject to prior agreement with the service user / advocate at the Assessment of Needs stage and will identify the following:
tasks which the service user is able to undertake on his / her own, unaided;
tasks which may require some degree of assistance from the Care Worker;
tasks which the service user is unable to undertake and which form the basis of the Care Worker’s duties.
3.The initial Baseline Assessment of Needs may identify the need for some specialised Aids to Daily Living in order for the service user to maintain as independent a lifestyle as possible, and again will have involved the agreement or consent of the service user / advocate as appropriate. These Aids to Daily Living may include the provision of some or all of the following, depending upon the perceived abilities of the service user:
bath seats / raised toilet seats / commodes
hand grips in baths / adjacent to toilets
modified tap handles for sinks and baths
hooked electric plugs
drinking cups and modified cutlery
large button telephones / telephone amplification aids
4. Service users will be encouraged to make decisions about their lifestyle in general, where necessary in consultation with the service user’s advocate / family members.
5. Care Workers are expected to promote a physical environment within the service user’s domestic scene which enables and empowers the service user to be as independent as possible. This may involve, with the service user’s permission, suggestions to re-arrange certain items of furniture or other items for improved accessibility, safety and ease of use.
6. An essential part of the duties of the Care Worker will be to monitor the service user’s physical and mental well-being to ensure that an acceptable balance between independence and risk-taking is maintained. Any concerns will be reported immediately to the Domiciliary Care Services Manager or Supervisor.