The Primary or Universal Stage includes person-centered strategies for supporting all of the people living or working in a home, organization, or community setting. The goal at this universal level is to implement strategies that will improve quality of life for everyone within a social community. Organizations interested in primary prevention will assess how well person-centered practices are being implemented by reviewing:
- Quality of life data for people receiving services,
- Perceptions of all individuals related to social climate, and
- The extent to which the social and physical environment is predictable, positive, and provides opportunities for choice and self-determination,
- Whether person-centered practices are implemented within all situations and settings,
- Training and technical assistance for staff members,
- Policies that clearly state the role of person-centered practices,
- Flexible resource allocation to allow people to choose unique home, work, education, and leisure activities, and
- Incidents related to conflicts occurring between people (staff members, people receiving services, family members or guardians, members in the community) including minor problems as well as more serious events (911 calls made, aggression or property destruction).
Organizations implementing person-centered practices form teams that represent all stakeholders involved in the change process. Self-advocates, family members and guardians, administrators and managers, staff members, and other individuals representing local community and service settings are all examples of stakeholders who will be involved in the planning process. The team works together to conduct a self-assessment of strengths and needs related to person-centered practices and by creating an organization-wide action plan for moving forward. This action plan is reviewed on a regular basis with an ongoing assessment of progress.
Secondary Stage strategies include early identification and intervention when quality of life is not improving for someone. The goal at the secondary stage level is to monitor quality of life and to make sure progress is being made over time for each person. If quality of life has suddenly decreased or is not improving for a particular person, early intervention is used to improve outcomes. Challenges related to work or school, health-related issues, and emotional distress can arise creating temporary stressors that impact health and wellness. Life transitions can have a big impact on the quality of a person’s life. Early intervention is used to make sure that minor problems are addressed before more serious problems have a chance to develop. The type of information that is used at the secondary level includes details related to quality of life, physical and mental health, and other indicators such as incidents reported, restraint, or injuries.
Tertiary Stage strategies include more intensive individualized person-centered planning. Person-centered planning refers to a set of assessment and action-planning processes that are used to improve the quality of life of people across the lifespan in their home, work, and community settings. Person-centered planning is a collaborative, strengths-based process for assessing strengths, gathering information about what works and doesn’t work in a person’s life and for setting goals to improve quality of life. Goals may include changing one’s living or work arrangements, establishing positive relationships, building community participation, improving health and wellness, and facilitating self-determination. Although a person-centered plan will look different for children, young adults, or elderly individuals, the processes and tools that are used are similar. The purpose of person-centered planning is to assist people in creating a positive and meaningful life and to build on a person’s unique interests and strengths.