2.3 Promoting well-being
The core purpose of adult care and support is to help people to achieve the outcomes that matter to them in their life. All organisations must promote well-being when carrying out any of their care and support functions. This may sometimes be referred to as ‘the well-being principle’ because it is a guiding principle that puts well-being at the heart of care and support.
Definition of well-being
‘Well-being’ is a broad concept, and relates to the following areas in particular:
- Personal dignity (including treating the individual with respect).
- Physical and mental health and emotional well-being
- Protection from abuse and neglect.
- Control by the individual over day-to-day life (including over care and support provided and the way it is provided).
- Participation in work, education, training or recreation.
- Social and economic well-being.
- Domestic, family and personal life.
- Suitability of living accommodation.
- The individual’s contribution to society.
Key principles and standards of promoting well-being
There are a number of key principles and standards under the Care Act which local authorities must have regard to when carrying out activities or functions:
- The importance of beginning with the assumption that the individual is best-placed to judge their own well-being.
Building on the principles of the Mental Capacity Act, the local authority should assume that the person knows best their own outcomes, goals and well-being. Local authorities should not make assumptions as to what matters most to the person.
- The individual’s views, wishes, feelings and beliefs.
Considering the person’s views and wishes is critical to a person-centred approach. Local authorities should not ignore or downplay the importance of a person’s own opinions in relation to their life and their care. Where views, feelings or beliefs (including religious beliefs) impact on the choices that a person may wish to make about their care, these should be taken into account. This is especially important where a person has expressed views in the past, but no longer has capacity to make decisions themselves.
- The importance of preventing or delaying the development of needs for care and support, and the importance of reducing needs that already exist.
At every interaction with a person, a local authority should consider whether or how the person’s needs could be reduced or other needs could be delayed from arising. Effective interventions at the right time can stop needs from escalating, and help people maintain their independence for longer.
- The need to ensure that decisions are made taking account of all the individual’s circumstances.
Decisions should not be based on a person’s age or appearance, any condition they have, or any aspect of their behaviour which might lead others to make unjustified assumptions about their well-being. Local authorities should not make judgments based on preconceptions about the person’s circumstances, but should in every case work to understand their individual needs and goals.
- The importance of the individual participating as fully as possible in decisions about them.
People should be provided with the information and support necessary to enable them to participate. Care and support should be personal, and local authorities should not make decisions from which the person is excluded.
- The importance of achieving a balance between the individual’s well-being and that of any friends or relatives who are involved in caring for them.
People should be considered in the context of their family and support networks, not just as isolated individuals with needs. Local authorities should take into account the impact of an individual’s need on those who support them, and take steps to help carers access information or support.
- The need to protect people from abuse and neglect.
In any activity which a local authority undertakes, it should consider how to ensure that the person is and remains protected from abuse or neglect. This is not confined only to safeguarding issues, but should be a general principle applied in every case.
- The need to ensure that any restriction on an individual’s rights or freedom of action is kept to the minimum necessary.
Where the local authority has to take actions which restrict a person’s rights or freedoms, they should ensure that the course followed is the least restrictive necessary.