Beyond routine, embracing values-based support

The importance of values in drawing on care and support cannot be overstated. As a parent/carer, I've witnessed first-hand the profound impact that the right values have on my son's life and well-being.  

Last year I was on the project team for TLAP’s work on workforce values in which we sought to understand which values, in terms of people working in social care, are most appreciated by people drawing on care and support and unpaid carers. The values we identified now form a key part of the new Care Workforce Pathway, with which the Department of Health and Social Care aims to provide a nationally recognised career structure for the adult social care workforce. Emerging as the most prized values were those associated with respect, reliability and honesty.  

The values of those providing my son’s support serve as guiding principles that shape their decisions, actions, behaviours and the overall quality of his support. My son is the most precious thing in my life, as well as his two sisters, and I want the people around him to have the right values to enable his independence, inclusion, choice, control and to provide him with good person-centred care and support. 

When we interview for Personal Assistants (PAs) we draw out their values and how they demonstrate them through the application process, using values-based questions and a good probation period. When working with our commissioned service, providing his support in the morning, I look for more than the ability to carry out all the clinical tasks and complete paperwork.  I want someone who will come in and establish rapport, switch his music on, have a laugh, a joke and wake him up with a smile. I look for individuals who can establish genuine connections, understand my son's preferences, and contribute to his well-being. I want them to be directed by him as well as the written care plan. The value of ‘seeing the whole person’ is so important and if you have that right the rest should follow.  

Whether the support is through Personal Assistants, self-employed individuals, or commissioned agencies, the emphasis on values has been a crucial aspect of our journey. While the practical skills required for his support can be taught, the values that underpin compassionate, person-centred care are deeply embedded and shaped by the individual’s life experiences. 

For those involved in the hiring process, whether as a Direct Payment employer or a registered manager, the demonstration of values becomes paramount. There must be a culture that prioritises personalised, person-centred care over rigid routines. 

To ensure consistent, high-quality care, organisations need to instil these values from top to bottom. This means not only hiring staff with the right values but also fostering a supportive culture that encourages their practice on a daily basis.  

Care providers must actively engage in co-production and maintain flexibility to truly meet the unique needs of those they support. 

Understanding what "good" looks like from the perspective of the person and workers alike is essential in building a culture where the right values are not only welcomed but actively supported. 

People drawing on health or social care support should be able to draw on good, personalised support no matter how they access it, be it a direct payment or through commissioning, so we need to ensure that values are embedded from the top down, bottom up and everywhere in between.   

Our dedicated team has been part of our lives for several years, the commitment and values they bring have enabled my son to live a fully independent life. They have not only supported him in doing the things that truly matter to him but have also adapted seamlessly as his condition has changed over time. They have been flexible, adaptive and continued to ensure he has independence choice and control, despite the challenges posed by his physical disability. 

In the end, the journey toward providing support with the right values is a collaborative effort. It involves continuous communication, a commitment to understanding individual needs, and a dedication to creating a culture where the importance of values are recognised, celebrated, and woven into the fabric of care and support. 


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