What makes my 'outcomes' audacious? By Dorothy Jarvis-Lee
I’m often asked what it means to have an ‘outcome’. It’s a term rather widely used these days in health and social care to describe any achievement by vulnerable individuals. In my experience recording ‘outcomes’ from this perspective can easily become an exercise which simply ticks boxes. So often an ‘outcome’ accepts and promotes very ordinary daily events. I think that this approach maintains a kind of status quo in which people have little or no space to grow. It provides precious few opportunities or encouragement to help individuals to become who they could be in life.
I know from experience that each and every step a person takes towards the experience of greater and more realistic independence is an amazing success. When we really understand how huge the transformation in behaviour and understanding often needs to be, we find we have come to a completely radical perception of the immensity of people’s outcomes.
When we dare to encourage the people we serve and support to have expectations beyond the everyday, past the ordinary and the entirely risk-free, we are ready to acknowledge and describe those aspirations as ‘audacious’.
There are two brilliant meanings to the word audacious. I find them both relevant to how we in ubu perceive real outcomes that actually serve the people we work with. We use that understanding and knowledge to enable and teach them to achieve something amazing every day and to make those successes sustainable going forward in their life journey.
The first definition speaks of the sometimes surprising and always inspiring willingness people have to want to take a risk, big or small, tentative or bold. We have the privilege to support and enable those we work for to become the individuals they should be and live the life they want for themselves.
The second meaning is sometimes used to describe a kind of insolent rudeness. I prefer to interpret this in another way. We work with people who have sometimes spent much of their lives being institutionalised, marginalised, treated with contempt and a lack of respect. I also use the word ‘audacious’ here to describe the fearlessness and courage so many people we stand with have when talking about, working towards and achieving their dreams and goals. In this context it’s not impertinence, it’s a declaration of living without shame and with dignity.
Our approach to enabling people is to seek and help to identify and then plan how to assist or teach them how to reach their next goal as independently as they can. We listen rather than direct, hearing what’s being said before we start to find a way to be supportive. ubu make the minimum intervention because we believe that everyone has the right to take the lead in making decisions about what they want and need to do next.
Of course, how people manage to achieve greater independence and freedom can need very different approaches and take diverse directions depending on their current skills, capacity and motivation. Our role in ubu is to stand beside you, supporting and safeguarding you whenever you need us and ensuring that you have the best opportunities to achieve audaciousness in every outcome you achieve.
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