The Person Centered Planning Process – What is Our Role?

Betsy Gadbois – Director of Person Centered Practices Owakihi
Betsy will be presenting at the Hammer Family Education Forum on Thursday, May 5th. Sign up to attend the Family Education Forum here.

Person Centered Planning is a term used to describe a variety of approaches used to help a person identify what is desired and meaningful in their life. The common theme in each approach is that the person is the primary focus; their hopes dreams and desires are the priority.

People invite their family and others that care about them to be part of the planning meeting. The team’s role is to help share the things that are most important to the person and to develop action steps to move toward the desired future.  Planning always includes a process facilitator that leads the group through a series of conversations. The facilitator also assures that the person centered planning meeting remains respectful and that the person’s choices are at the center of all discussions. The planning meeting may also include a graphic recorder. The recorders job is to capture in picture and words the essence of the meeting. Graphic recording helps everyone to see what is being written in way that all people can understand.

Person Centered Planning Diagram

Person Centered Planning can have a significant effect on the amount of positive control that people have in their lives. People’s hopes, dreams, and desires typically center around where they live, where they work, where they go, who they spend time with, and how they can have more independence in their lives. The focus is on these things that are important to the person, not the disability.

I first started working on Person Centered Planning methods with the Hammer staff in the early 1990s. Hammer Residence Inc. was always looking for the best way to support people to have the life they desired. They worked hard to listen to the people they served and to develop resources and supports around the person. They were ahead of their time. Person Centered Thinking and Person Centered Planning is now mandated in Minnesota by Rule 245D and the Positive Support Rule.  This is exciting for everyone, and especially for the staff that have been working so long to help people have the lives they really want. This is not just the rule: it is the right thing to do for people. We are all excited to see people have control of their lives and to identify what will make a difference for them. Please join our conversation at Hammer’s Family Education Forum as we focus on the critical importance of our role in this process. Together we are better!

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