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What Is Informed Choice?

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Informed choice is a voluntary, well-considered decision that an individual makes on the basis of options, information, and understanding. The decision making process should result in a free and informed decision by the individual about whether or not he or she chooses or wishes to accept these options. To make an informed choice, clients need accurate, clear, unbiased, and useful information.

To offer informed choice in a care setting staff would have to:

路Empower their clients. Offering them information, power and knowledge to make the choice.

路Encourage independence, by letting the client do things they might not normally do by themselves, so they can take control of their lives. (As long as they are no risks involved)

路Let the client make their own decisions when it comes to dressing, eating and what to do with their leisure time. Enabling them like this gives them confidence.

To be more precise, here are some examples:

路A blind person who is escorted daily onto public transport; wouldn’t it be a better idea to encourage independence by having trial runs of unaccompanied travel?

路A young person with learning difficulties who is unable to cook for himself; wouldn’t it be kinder to offer him the choice at least to learn, say at college?

路An elderly client who gets confused and frustrated; don’t give up, or not make an effort because of this. Take extra time to explain the choices, slowly and clearly, she is a human being and deserves choices too!

It is very important to keep offering clients a choice in the care setting, because practice may become task-centred, routine and focused on drudgery, The centre of social care teachings are that everyone has a value, and should be treated as such. No individual should lose the right to choose, based on whether they are elderly, mentally ill, of Ethnic origin or disabled.

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