vineri, octombrie 01, 2010

A Person Centered Future for Giurgiu County, Romania

Posted on September 30, 2010 by KHSI

At the end of our Person Centered Planning workshop in Giurgiu County, Romania, three people who have returned to their home community in Giurgiu after many years in an institution had a new vision for the future that is possible and positive. This vision includes steps toward a true home, belonging, freely-given relationships and valued social roles in their community.
From August 30 to September 3, our team of Person Centered Planning facilitators – Elizabeth Neuville, Susan Rowell and Nicolae Besliu – provided a five-day workshop and practicum on developing individualized Person Centered Plans for people who are leaving the institution to rejoin the community. The workshop was extremely successful and a wonderful experience for everyone involved.
Eighteen educators, psychologists, doctors, county workers, and representatives from foundations and organizations, including Ionel Muscalu, the manager of Giurgiu County, joined us for the workshop and practicum. We began the week with an introduction to Social Role Valorization (SRV). Although we only had time for a brief discussion of SRV, these ideas are important because they form the basis of community-based services and supporting people to live “the good life” with opportunities for participation, education, work, dignity, respect and acceptance. The workshop participants embraced these ideas.
Our focus for this workshop, however, was Person Centered Planning, a process for developing individualized service plans in which professionals, the people who are being served and their families work together to develop a comprehensive, individually focused plan for services and supports. To aid in the Person Centered Planning process, we discussed Personal Futures Planning, which will provide a framework for envisioning a positive future for each person.
This workshop was more than just a sharing of ideas and tools. We developed real Person Centered Plans for three people who had left the institution. We invited these three men and women to join us and assist professionals to learn to develop meaningful and inclusive Person Centered Plans.
From the very beginning, careful attention was paid to ensure that each focus person understood that they were in control of the process and would be the driving force behind any plans that were made with or for them. In Person Centered Planning, the focus person has control over his or her own life and the decisions that are made, including the people who are involved in this planning as part of their support circle.
Along with the focus person, the planning team included six workshop participants and one facilitator. Each focus person invited their support team to lunch so they could start to get to know one another. It’s very important that the support team understand and truly know the person they are supporting so that they can help develop a plan that reflects the person’s preferences, goals and dreams.
Because this was a learning experience, we did two days of Person Centered Planning. At the beginning of the second day, each team discussed what went well, and what wasn’t working. These debriefing sessions gave the teams the opportunity to really think about the process, make adjustments and improve.
We used graphic facilitation throughout the entire Person Centered Planning process. As we talked with the person about his or her background, relationships, places they spend time, preferences, dreams, hopes and fears, and developed plans for the future, one team member kept a graphic representation of everything that was said. At the end, we had a visual representation of the person’s history and plans for the future.
To symbolize each person’s control over the decisions in their lives, we presented them with the graphic representation of the plan the entire team had developed. “It’s amazing to see the change in people when they have a say in deciding the direction of their own lives,” says Sue Rowell.
By the end of the workshop and practicum, each participant was fully vested in Person Centered Planning and excited about supporting people to leave the institution and live “the good life” and pursue their personal goals and dreams in the community. Workshop attendees realized that with the Person Centered Planning and Personal Futures Planning tools, they can figure out how to support people to live “the good life.” They could envision a future for Giurgiu County, where everyone participates and is accepted within their community.
This was a wonderful, inspiring week. Thank you to all of our participants, Ionel Muscalu, and a special thank you to the three men and women who worked with all of us to help us learn from their experiences, hopes and dreams, and develop direction for a full, rich and meaningful community life. Thank you to the Open Society Mental Health Initiative for supporting this experience. We are looking forward to returning to Giurgiu County in October for a more extensive workshop in Social Role Valorization.

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