At The Regard Group we believe that it is important to go one step further than being person-centred – to become person-led.
We want to empower the people we support to become fully involved, not just in their own care and support, but in the ‘bigger decisions’ that affect the homes they live in. We believe giving them a voice to help us make decisions, even when there are communication difficulties, builds the self-esteem of the people we support and helps them to become more independent. Our teams appreciate how important this responsibility is to people and how it reflects their desire to make a genuine contribution.
Following the success of last year’s pilot project, our service user involvement groups called RISE@Regard are being rolled out across all of our regions.
The first group was set up in our London and Surrey region. The people we support in this region were asked:
• Would they like to become more actively involved in decisions about their support, how it is delivered along with a broader aims and involvement in the company and their communities?
• Who wanted to come and where did they want to meet?
• What did people want to get out of it?
• Which staff should be involved? (both to support people to attend and to lead the meetings)
Everyone agreed that a casual, informal meeting would be held to start the group. Five staff and eight of the people they support discussed what they wanted to change and become involved in.
Mike from Gordon Avenue said ‘They shouldn’t do things about us without asking us’
The group chose the name RISE@Regard as they said that Respect, Independence, Speech/being heard and Equality are important to them.
In subsequent meetings the group went on to write a Charter with detail about six elements they would like staff teams, managers and the people they support to sign up to. These are:
1. We must be at the centre of our care planning and any decisions made about our lives.
2. We want to live our lives independently
3. We want to be more involved in our community.
4. We would like to have an active part in audits and inspections which take place in our homes.
5. We need to be involved in staff recruitment.
6. We would like to know about the ‘big decisions’ The Regard Group makes about our homes and our care.
All of the regional teams in Regard are signing up to this Charter as well as developing local R.I.S.E groups.