Person-Centered Culture and Practice
Person-centered means: Empowering people to choose, set, and reach their own life goals, and treating each person with dignity and respect. Asking the person who receives services, “What do you want?”, and also knowing who this person is and what is important to them. Washington County strives to support people with what is important to them and what they want to do in their lives, with a focus on the person’s preferences, strengths, identified outcomes, and dreams.
Washington County received a grant from Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) in with a focus on supporting people to move into their own homes from corporate foster care settings. Partnering with STAR Services and using person-centered principles and practice to truly identify what is important to a person, this was a great success! Because of the success of this work, Washington County proposed to shift the focus of the grant to expanding the use of person-centered concepts beyond housing and into all areas of disability services and supports.
In continued partnership with STAR Services, Washington County identified that implementing person-centered principles and practice when working with those we support required more than just utilizing the concepts taught in mandatory trainings. Being person-centered requires an entire culture shift at all levels and Washington County has implemented several measures internally to support our staff with these changes. These include, but are not limited to: changing the language that we use on a daily basis and in our documents, providing person-centered language and other training at the start of employment, providing monthly person-centered group work (Peer Learning Circles), implementing person-centered concepts and discussions into team meetings, and ongoing discussion and review of person-centeredness in daily work with those that we support.
Peer Learning Circles are designed to help incorporate person-centeredness into the culture of the Adult and Disability Services Division. Peer Learning Circles are about action learning and development to support leaders, social workers, and teammates in tackling challenges and building a place where creative and innovative problem solving can be shared, practiced, and grown. Peer Learning Circles are a circle model of leadership, where everyone is a participant and a leader, and each circle is a unique experience. The overall goal is creative problem solving, sharing, and growing best practices in person-centered thinking. They are hosted by trained case managers, assessors, and public health nurses employed by Washington County. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, PLC’s became virtual and renamed Peer Support Circles (PSCs) in June of 2020.
Peer Support Circles are about coming together to support each other. Like Peer Learning Circles, they also can provide action learning and development to support our leadership in tackling challenges and building a place where we can all stretch our creativity, including problem-solving newly identified areas of challenge. While a continued opportunity for personal learning, Peer Support Circles are still committed to building a person-centered culture and practice at Washington County. With the focus being on supporting one another, Peer Support Circles still give time to creatively problem solve, share, and identify ways to best support the people we help every day.
NEW! Pilot: Community Support Circles are modeled after the Peer Learning Circles. The goal is to learn from community members about what’s working and what’s not working in how they access and receive services and supports in Washington County. Community members are invited to sign up and join the circle as a participant and as a leader alongside hosts from Washington County.
Discussions during Peer Support Circles and Community Learning Circles that generate suggestions or ideas are shared with leadership with the end goal of making changes that improve how Washington County supports people to live their best lives.
If you or someone you are supporting would like to have a person-centered plan, please contact your waiver or intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) case manager. They can assist you in locating a person-centered planner and authorizing funding!
Person-centered training videos created by STAR Services and Washington County
FREE customized support for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) providers! DHS has contracted with STAR Services to partner with direct care workers, managers, or leadership from selected providers to make certain older adults and people with disabilities have access to the highest-quality home and community-based services. Providers play a crucial role in ensuring people are making their own choices, doing what they want to do with their lives, are a part of their communities, and are treated with dignity and respect.
For more information:
- Visit DHS’ HCBS setting transition plan page.
- Next, scroll down to the “News” tab and the information is found under the “DHS launches free customized support to HCBS providers” section.
- You can find the application at the bottom of this section.
- Access, Aging & Disability Division Resource List 70000-102 (PDF)
- U of M Art of Hosting
- Worldview Intelligence (formerly Meadowlark)
- STAR Services
- MN DHS Person-Centered Information
- Yale University School of Medicine Person-Centered Language Resource (PDF)
- Strength-Based Interviewing Skills (PDF)
- Strength-Based Achievable Goals (PDF)