What is Autonomy &
                Why is it Important?

In the field of home care and community-related services, a good heart can go a long way.  However, it is next to impossible to train someone to have the perfect heart for homecare. We hope you decided to get into the field of homecare relaced services to make a positive impact on seniors.

 

Our vision is to bring a positive outlook for those who can no longer care for themselves the way they used to.   It can be upsetting to new clients who have recently felt like they have lost their independence due to natural aging, illness, injury, or disorder.  It can be a scary time to entrust their independence to a caregiver. You will be providing a service that fosters independence and compassion.  You must perform your duties that ensure that the client remains dignified and respected. Remind them that they are in control of their own lives and their decisions.

 

Sometimes in this line of business, a few caregivers can begin to feel like they know more than the client or what is best for the client. When this occurs, the caregiver is stripping away the autonomy. Autonomy is the right to self-govern or make their own decisions. Positive Outlooks is determined to ensure the client decides how they want to be cared for as long as is within our offered services and within ethics and boundaries. 

 

Best Ways to Promote Autonomy: 
  • Ensure you give individuals all of their options to choose from. They can only make an informed independent decision if they are aware of all of their options. 

  • Encourage clients to take an active role in their daily lives and plan of care.  For example simple inquiries like "Which glass would you like to use?" and start each shift with "What would you like to do today?" A mistake would be coming in and listing what you, as a caregiver, have planned for the day. Even if you have planned something with the client the day before, those plans may have changed. Always ask. 

  • Do not try to guilt or manipulate individuals into making a decision they would not normally because you feel it is the "right" decision for them. Manipulation can occur by using tactics such as guilting, withholding information, lying, blackmailing, or using tactics that would scare the individual into making a decision that would not normally make. 

  • Understanding what might be "best" or "safest" for an individual might not be what is "right" for an individual. They must maintain their "right to self-govern", which is their autonomy. For example, if an individual with health issues wants to eat food with high fat or sugar content, get a tattoo, gamble, drink an alcoholic beverage;  it is not your responsibility to limit what they eat, drink, dress like, act like if they are made aware of the risks and are of sound mind to make their own diet, dressing, hobby, and shopping choices. As soon as you make a decision for the client or on behalf of the client, you remove their ability to make that decision for themselves. 

  • Using organizers and visuals can help teamwork with the client and their family to develop a care plan based on the individual's wants, needs, and goals. As part of a "person-centered approach," sometimes, an individual struggles with making decisions at the moment. This can be due to a number of reasons such as dementia, brain injury, diseases of the brain, or simply a busy schedule. to facility assisting a client with organizing their care so they can maintain autonomy without confusion, visuals can be used.

    These visuals can be calendars, vision boards, whiteboards, checklists, bucket lists, wish lists, appointment books, or more. These tools can help plan everything from visiting with friends and family to when baths, cleaning, or appointments are.  This should always be readily available for the client and guardians. They maintain the right to change or adapt at any time.