Risk Assessment Processes to Support the Right of Individuals to make their own Decisions

Traditional risk assessment methods are relevant to assessing risks about how services operate (e.g. how to use, store and manage hazardous substances). However, it is now considered inappropriate to use the same method for assessing risks involved in care and support as taking the traditional approach have led services to be over restrictive.

What is meant by a ‘Positive Risk Taking/Risk Enablement Approach’

The approach which is taken with individuals needs to apply the principles of positive risk taking which is sometimes referred to as risk enablement. This approach does not put people at risk of significant harm but enables people to take risks by managing the risk appropriately rather than restricting the person’s opportunities.

Positive risk management enables people to take control over their own lives by making informed decisions about the risks they wish to take and how they can be managed. It involves professionals working with the person to enable them to come to an agreement about how they are supported in activities and aspects of their care. It is not about being negligent or ignoring a risk which cannot be managed safely.

Imagine if your parents never let go of your hand when you were learning to walk for fear that you might fall. You might never have fallen but might never have learned to walk either. Positive risk management recognises that risks are a part of every day life, and without taking risks you might not reach a position of self fulfilment

Use to answer question 7.3b of the Care Certificate

Why it is Important to use a Positive Risk Taking/ Risk Management Approach when Supporting Individual’s to make Decisions

  • If we do not take risks we can be hindered and stifled in our development. (Human growth and development does not just relate to the process for reaching adulthood. It is a continuous process which occurs throughout our lives).
  • Where risk adverse cultures exist there is a danger of infringing people’s legal rights and freedoms
  • When a person takes a risk it does not mean that they are allowed to put others in danger
  • The aim of risk management is not to prevent someone from doing a task but to ensure that it is done safely and with dignity
  • Risks must be managed proportionately and realistically
  • Putting someone at risk is not the same as managing risk which they have chosen to take
  • Risk enablement/management plans and risk assessments must be carried out with full involvement of the person concerned, as far as they are able
  • People need to be fully involved in deciding how they would wish to be moved and positioned, transferred, transported and assisted to mobilise. For example, it would be unjustified to put someone in a wheelchair if it is for the convenience of staff (i.e. to do the job more quickly or to cut down on the number of staff required) if the person can walk with an aid or the support of another person or if the person, prefers to walk.

Use to answer question 7.3b of the Care Certificate

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