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Person-centred active support and positive behaviour support


Person-centred active support

Person-centred active support (sometimes referred to as PCAS or active support) is a way of working with people that means they are able to make choices about things in their lives. Things are not done for people but with them.

With active support, all the typical tasks and interactions of a typical day present opportunities for us to support people in such a way that they are engaged in whatever is happening. That might be washing the dishes, taking public transport, a family visit or going to the shops. From someone’s typical activities and interactions with other people, our support workers identify the steps that someone can manage for themselves, the ones they need support with and the ones support workers will need to do for them. By providing the right amount of support at the right time we make sure someone’s progress to independence isn’t hindered by too much support. Our support workers will seek out opportunities and ways for the people we are supporting to express preferences and views.

The outcome of active support is that someone’s quality of life improves because they will have more choice, control and independence. What that looks like in practice will differ from person to person.

Positive behaviour support

Positive behaviour support is a way of supporting someone who displays behaviour that challenges that involves their family and friends as well as our support teams.

Displaying behaviour that challenges is a way of letting people know your feelings and emotions when you don’t have the communication or social skills to do so in other ways. When practicing positive behaviour support, we start by looking at the reasons behind each individual person’s behaviour that challenges. There is always a reason for someone’s behaviour and we carry out a full assessment to work out what it is. From there, we can develop realistic plans and strategies that will reduce the frequency of the behaviour that challenges and improve the person’s quality of life.

Our support workers base the way they interact with and support someone on a full understanding of that person’s behaviour. Our practice development leads often work alongside families as well as the support team to ensure that people experience consistency in their support, whoever is delivering it.

Putting it into practice

Person-centred active support and positive behaviour support are ways of working that require co-ordination, consistency and planning. Avenues has practice development leads whose role it is to train and develop support teams, demonstrate good practice, observe support in practice, give feedback and coach employees. Our practice development leads are experts in their subject and help with planning people’s support from the referral and assessment stage to make sure we get it right from day one.

We collaborated with the Tizard Centre and United Response on a report that describes the effectiveness of Active Support and Positive Behaviour Support.

In 2016, Avenues was awarded a grant by NHS England to deliver training in PBS, PCAS and mindfulness to a group of parents/carers. Read a summary or download the report.