Good approaches to choice and risk

The governing principle behind good approaches to choice and risk is that individuals have the right to live their lives to the full as long as it does not stop others from doing the same, and does not cause harm to themselves. However, a fear of supporting individuals to take reasonable risks in their daily lives can prevent them doing the things most people take for granted. What needs to be considered is the consequence of an action and the likely harm it may cause. By taking account of the benefits in terms of independence, well-being and choice, it should be possible for an individual to have a care plan that enables them to manage identified risks and to live their life in the way that best suits them. Fundamental to providing support for individuals with long term conditions is the understanding that they are responsible for their own actions. It is the role of healthcare professionals to discuss risk and inform people of the possible consequences.

Skills and behaviours to support choice and risk Consider communication approaches and techniques – are they person focused, empathetic, non-judgmental and supportive?

Approach risk assessments in a way which:

• understands that risk should not be seen as a reason not to do something;

• understands that some risks cannot be completely removed or managed, however much support the individual may have;

• ensures that the right balance is struck between enabling individuals to lead independent and dignified lives and that procedures for safeguarding are implemented if there is a need for protection;

• looks for flexible and innovative solutions that can support people to be independent while minimising risk;

• ensures that the potential impact of any risks is fully assessed, and accurate information is recorded, including the type of risk, its nature and context, and any actions required/taken to manage the risk;

• supports individuals who want to make the choice to manage the risk;

• supports individuals to understand that with rights come responsibilities and the implications of their choices, including any risks;

• ensures that a clear distinction is drawn between putting an individual at risk and enabling them to manage risks appropriately;

• works with other healthcare professionals and across disciplines to develop a common approach to risk taking;

• works with policies and procedures to support age appropriate decision making and risk taking;


  1. Personal Support and Physical Well-being
  2. Diet and Weight
  3. Sight, Hearing and Communication
  4. Oral Health
  5. Foot Care and Support
  6. Mobility and Dexterity, Risk of Falls
  7. Behaviour/Emotions
  8. Continence
  9. Medication Usage
  10. Mental State and Cogntion
  11. Social Interests, Hobbies, Religious And Cultural Needs
  12. Personal Safety and Risk
  13. Support And Family Involvement
  14. Social Contacts/Relationships.
  15. Sleep Pattern
  16. Managing your Home
  17. Managing Money
  18. Work and Learning
  19. Self, Others and Community Risks