What is promoting autonomy?

What is promoting autonomy?

Person-Centred Care

Care Learning

2 mins READ

Promoting autonomy in health and social care is all about giving people the power to make their own choices.

It’s crucial to ensure that everyone, no matter their condition or situation, can have a say in decisions affecting their care and treatment. This approach values each person’s right to live by their own standards and aims to boost independence.

Ways to Promote Autonomy

Informed Consent: Healthcare professionals must ensure individuals understand all options before any treatment. This means explaining the benefits and risks so people can choose what’s best for them.

For example, a doctor might talk through the side effects of a new medication with a patient. The patient then decides if they want to go ahead with it.

Personalised Care Plans: Everyone’s care plan should reflect their personal needs and goals. Involving individuals in planning ensures that care aligns with what they value most.

An example could be working with an older person on creating a plan that includes regular walks because they enjoy being outdoors.

Encouraging Self-Care: Supporting people in managing their own personal tasks fosters independence. Help should adjust based on how much they can do by themselves.

For instance, helping someone with mild disabilities dress using special tools but stepping back when not needed shows respect for their ability to manage alone.

Choice in Daily Activities: People should decide how they spend time, pick activities they like, and keep up social connections as per their liking.

A good practice is offering different activities at a care home so residents can choose what interests them most each day.

Participation in Discussions: Individuals must be part of conversations about their care, whether it involves meeting healthcare teams or reviewing plans.

An example here would include patients in team meetings where treatment options are discussed, ensuring everyone’s voice gets heard.

Respect for Privacy: Respecting privacy signals recognition of individual rights, which is key for promoting autonomy.

This could mean always knocking before entering someone’s room or making sure someone has privacy during personal care tasks.

Supporting Decision Making: For those who find decision-making challenging, support mechanisms like Power of Attorney help represent an individual’s wishes accurately.

If someone has dementia, involving them as much as possible even if via family members holding Power of Attorney respects this principle.

Promoting autonomy isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential for compassionate and personalised care.

By focusing on these areas:


  • Enhances dignity
  • Boosts confidence
  • Improves quality of life


  • Balancing safety with independence
  • Ensuring informed consent genuinely reflects understanding

Understanding the importance of self-determination helps us see health and social care from the perspective that truly matters—the individual’s. Encouraging you further into this topic will reveal more ways we can make meaningful differences in lives every day while respecting everyone’s right to choose how they live theirs.

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