Leading Practice Guidelines

Dignity of Risk

Type: Voice

Guideline: People are supported to make informed choices and decisions about the risks or consequences of potential decisions. They are encouraged to take positive risks which enhance their personal outcomes.

The organization has a process to thoughtfully and thoroughly anticipate possible risks, plan ahead, and promote a safe environment while increasing opportunities for people to participate more fully in the community.

The organization enhances the abilities of the person to keep safe by ensuring that he/she has knowledge of his/her rights, choices, and how his/her actions can influence others.

What does this look like?

The organization has a process, training and practices that promote dignity of risk.  

The organization balances the right for people to make decisions and choices that may expose them to risk with the responsibility to take reasonable care to ensure that actions do not cause injury or harm to the person or others.

The organization supports the person by:

  • helping the person acquire the skills necessary to identify the risks associated with individual choice as reasonable or unreasonable, acceptable or unacceptable
  • Supporting the person to actively identify and assess the possible risks associated with a given choice including understanding the impact and consequences of risky and unsafe behaviour.
  • Implement a plan involving suitable supports, resources, and practices to reduce the risk (to the individual, the organization, or the community at large) and maximize success in pursuit of a goal.
  • Supporting and encouraging the person to connect with and discuss possible risks and options with family, friends, professionals or members of their support network.

Identified risks and the support needed to try to mitigate these risks are documented in a person’s Support Plan and/or Safety Plan.

Staff are expected, empowered and trained to support people to make informed decisions about activities or behaviours that may expose them to risk. Staff have a good understanding of the process for identifying and reporting high levels of risk in a sensitive manner.

How would you know this is happening? (Evidence)

What you see in systems:

  • Identified risks and supports needed are documented in people’s plans
  • Staff training content and records of completion
  • Incident report follow up documentation

What you see in actions:

  • People receive support to make informed decisions that balance their right to direct their own lives with protection from significant harm. Families and support networks are involved in helping the person as they choose.
  • Staff have the tools and information needed to guide people in their choices. They are knowledgeable about how and when to raise concerns about potential harm and risk.

Resources to support achieving guideline:

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