Effective personalised care must focus on ‘Can, not can’t’


Effective personalised care must focus on individual strengths, daily activities and social connections, new report finds.

A new report from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, (RCOT), has identified three key factors to enable personalised care:

1. Focusing on a person’s strengths and balancing choice and risk
2. Enabling people to take part in daily activities that are important to them
3. Ensuring people stay connected to family, friends and communities


1 – The current approach to health and social care focuses on what people can’t or shouldn’t do – often for fear of aggravating or exacerbating existing conditions and placing further burden on services for treatment. Effective personalised care embraces risk taking so people focus on what they need and would like to be doing.

2 – A ‘can do’ ‘culture enables people with health conditions to feel productive and valuable both to themselves and the community.

3 – When people can’t or shouldn’t do things, they end up isolated, lonely and disconnected from family, friends and the community. Social connections are vital for a person’s wellbeing and enabling participation in the daily activities that are important to them often facilitates social connections. With around 50% of disabled people and 1.2 million people reporting being ‘chronically lonely’, there is a vast need to support wellbeing through social connections.

Julia Scott, Chief Executive of RCOT says; “Personalised care is about placing what matters to the individual at the heart of their health and social care. For occupational therapists, personalised care is about focusing on people’s strengths and enabling individuals to carry out the activities they need and want to do in their lives. It is intrinsic to our profession and always has been. We would urge health and social care leaders, commissioners and managers to look to their occupational therapy workforce to enable personalised care across their services.”

Alan, a service user from the Gateshead Foundation Trust who suffers with respiratory problems and received occupational therapy intervention through the Respiratory Service to enable him to manage his condition says; “What they (the service) have achieved, I think is absolutely fantastic. It is a help to the community, especially with people in our situation with COPD. I think it’s fantastic. Now I am controlling the situation, I’ve got a better way of managing what this situation is, I am taking control now.”

Caroline Speirs, head of the organisation Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) says, “TLAP welcomes this timely report from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. Using occupational therapists wisely as a key component in the workforce to deliver personalised care will make a real difference. The breadth of their impact can be considerable from leading the training of other health and care staff, to advising on guidance and support service as well as working one to one with people with complex conditions. The Royal College has clearly stated how to make personalisation a reality and the focus on people’s strengths, balancing choice and risk is a keystone to personalised care to enable people to do what they need and want to do.”


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