Person-centred planning gives backbone to best practices


Family is at the centre of what BACI does
Monday August 29, 2011 — Deb Bartlett

Person-centred planning has helped give backbone and structure to what are best practices in the field, says Lyn King.

A Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) employee for 23 years, Lyn is now the senior manager of human resources and quality assurance. She says person-centred planning “enables the individuals we are here to support to voice their desires, what they want to do with their lives and goals they want to work on.”

In the years she’s been in the field, Lyn says person-centredness has always “held its own.” The term may be new, she says, but in BACI’s long history, “Family is at the centre of what we do.”

Having parents and consumers on the board of directors “keeps us true to the values and vision of the agency,” she says.

She prefers to call the practice person-centred thinking and doing. “You can plan, but you have to do,” she says. Without follow-up, a plan is just a piece of paper, she says.

Person-centred thinking is a process that’s embedded with BACI’s values and quality assurance indicators that “gives us strength and a foundation to work from,” says Lyn.

Though the process can be daunting, Lyn says it fits in with BACI’s goals of being able to say, “yes, we have attempted to discover what somebody’s hopes and wishes and dreams and goals are,” with the person and their support circle of family, friends and staff.

BACI then measures whether “we got close to the mark,” says Lyn. With the individual, it’s discussed whether the plan was successful and fulfilling, or whether it was not something that was enjoyable after all. Sometimes person-centred thinking is a chance to try something and “admitting that it’s outside of our abilities to support someone, but we’ve given the person the chance to voice it.”

The process of person-centred planning “allows us to unpack what people are asking for,” she says. They may not be able to articulate what it is they want to do, or why.

Lyn recounts a training session in which a man wanted to work in a hospital. Staff looked at it from a deficit point of view, and the facilitator “unpacked the suitcase of working in a hospital” and it turned out the man wanted to wear a white coat and a name tag, says Lyn.

They found a way for him to deliver samples in a cart from one part of the hospital to another. He was supported to learn his job and used pictures to get around the hospital. He felt he “belonged somewhere,” says Lyn, and “I know things like that have happened in the lives of people we’ve supported.”

“They can be supported to have a role, a valued role and a voice,” says Lyn.

If you have feedback on this story, contact Deb at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deb(at)

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