Seeing the Person Beyond the Label & The VIPS Approach

Seeing the person beyond the label

‘Remember you need to see the person first rather than to label them or to define them by their condition.’

Even when we use the acceptable terms for a person’s condition such as dementia, or learning difficulty it is important not to let it divert our attention for seeing the person as someone with individual needs, hopes, talents and potential. It is important to understand the common characteristics of mental ill health, dementia and learning difficulties/disability and the meaning of the medical terms they may encounter.

The VIPS approach

A good starting point is to adopt the VIPS approach (working with the Social Model of Disability). The same general principles can be applied to working with people with mental ill health, learning difficulties/disabilities or dementia.

VValue the person (with the condition)

I – treat the person as an Individual

P – look at the world from the Perspective of the person, i.e. find out how the person thinks and experiences the world

S – establish and maintain a positive Social environment for the person

(Dawn Brookers’s (2006) Person Centred Dementia Care: Making Services Better)

People with mental ill health needs, learning difficulties/learning disability are often labelled as having ‘challenging behaviour’ when in fact it is the professionals and others who are involved with them who are not responding appropriately to them or are failing to understand their communication. Staff need to be very cautious about using the term ‘challenging behaviour’ as it can have a lasting negative impact on the person. It may stigmatise the person, and say more about the staff member providing inadequate support, than actually describe the person.

Use to answer question 9.1a of the Care Certificate


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