2.1 Find out the history, preferences, wishes and needs of the individual

2.1 Find out the history, preferences, wishes and needs of the individual

Implement Person-Centred Approaches in Care Settings Answers

Care Learning

5 mins READ

This guide will help you answer The RQF Level 2 Diploma in Care Unit 2.1 Find out the history, preferences, wishes and needs of the individual.

In health and social care, understanding the history, preferences, wishes, and needs of the individuals you support is crucial. This knowledge enables you to offer personalised care that respects the individual’s uniqueness. It also promotes dignity, independence, and well-being.

Gathering Personal History

Why It Matters

A person’s history shapes who they are today. Knowing their past can help you understand their present behaviour, preferences, and needs. It can also build a sense of trust and respect between you and the individual.

Methods to Gather History

  • Personal Interviews:
  • Family and Friends:
    • Speak to close family members or friends who know the individual’s life story well.
  • Document Review:
    • Look at medical records, care plans, and any other relevant documentation.

Areas to Explore

  • Childhood: Find out where they grew up and what their family life was like.
  • Education and Work: Ask about their schooling and career.
  • Significant Life Events: Learn about key events that may have shaped their life (e.g., marriage, travel, losing a loved one).

Understanding Preferences

Importance of Preferences

Preferences are the things that make the person feel comfortable and happy. They include daily routines, favourite foods, hobbies, and interests. Respecting these can significantly boost the individual’s sense of autonomy and satisfaction.

Identifying Preferences

  • Observation:
    • Watch how the individual spends their time and what activities they enjoy.
  • Direct Questions:
    • Ask them about their likes and dislikes explicitly.
  • Trial and Error:
    • Introduce different options and note their reactions.

Documenting Preferences

  • Maintain a preference sheet or log as part of their care plan.
  • Update it regularly as preferences may change over time.

Determining Wishes

Significance of Wishes

Wishes are more profound than preferences. They could be related to future aspirations, end-of-life care, or significant goals. They reveal what the individual values most in life.

How to Explore Wishes

  • Focused Conversations:
    • Have meaningful discussions about their goals and expectations.
  • Life Review Activities:
    • Use life story books or memory boxes to trigger discussions about future wishes.
  • Advance Care Planning:
    • Talk about their desires for future care, especially in case of serious illness.

Key Topics to Address

  • Future Hopes: Ask about their dreams and ambitions.
  • End-of-Life Wishes: Discuss how they wish to be treated in their final days.
  • Bucket List Items: Identify any specific activities or experiences they want to achieve.

Assessing Needs

Why Needs Assessment is Critical

Needs assessment helps to determine what support the individual requires in their daily life. This ensures they receive the appropriate level of care and support, promoting their health and well-being.

Types of Needs

  • Physical Needs: Mobility, personal hygiene, nutrition, and health care.
  • Emotional Needs: Companionship, mental health support, and emotional security.
  • Social Needs: Opportunities for social interaction and community involvement.
  • Spiritual Needs: Respect for religious beliefs and practices.

Conducting a Needs Assessment

  • Holistic Approach:
    • Consider all aspects of their life, including physical, emotional, social, and spiritual elements.
  • Use Assessment Tools:
    • Employ formal tools and checklists (e.g., risk assessments, dependency scales).
  • Collaborate with Other Professionals:
    • Work with healthcare providers, social workers, and therapists to get a comprehensive view.

Recording and Reviewing Needs

  • Document all needs clearly in the care plan.
  • Review needs regularly to account for any changes in the individual’s circumstances.

Practical Tips for Effective Communication

  • Active Listening:
    • Pay close attention without interrupting when the individual speaks.
  • Show Empathy:
    • Demonstrate understanding and compassion towards their feelings and experiences.
  • Clarify and Confirm:
    • Repeat back what you’ve heard to ensure you’ve understood correctly.
  • Use Simple Language:
    • Avoid jargon; use clear and simple words to make communication easier.
  • Non-Verbal Cues:
  • Patience:
    • Give them time to express themselves without rushing.

Example answers for unit 2.1 Find out the history, preferences, wishes and needs of the individual

Here are example answers for different parts of Unit 2.1, from the perspective of a care worker.

Gathering Personal History


“Mr. Johnson grew up in a small village in Yorkshire. He was the youngest of five siblings and speaks fondly of his childhood, particularly the local fairs and playing cricket with his brothers. Mr. Johnson worked as an electrician for over 40 years and retired 10 years ago. He was married to his wife, Margaret, for 50 years until she passed away two years ago. They had two children, both of whom live abroad. Learning about his past helps us understand his love for routine and structure, which likely stems from his disciplined career and large, busy household.”

Understanding Preferences


“Through conversations with Mrs. Patel, I learned she prefers to start her day with a cup of strong, black tea and a piece of toast with marmalade. She enjoys reading mystery novels and likes to spend time in the garden in the late afternoon. Mrs. Patel dislikes loud noises and prefers to have her meals in the quiet dining area. I also observed that she feels more comfortable when she has her favourite blanket nearby.”

Determining Wishes


“During our discussions, Mr. Williams expressed his wish to visit the seaside one more time, as he spent many family vacations there. He also mentioned wanting to be involved in community events, particularly those related to veterans, as he served in the Royal Navy. Mr. Williams has shared his end-of-life wishes, specifying that he wants to stay at home, surrounded by photographs of his family, and receive palliative care in a familiar environment.”

Assessing Needs


“Ms. Anderson requires assistance with activities of daily living due to her arthritis, which affects her mobility and dexterity. She needs help with bathing, dressing, and preparing meals. Emotionally, she often feels isolated since her family lives far away, so she appreciates having regular social visits from carers and volunteers. Ms. Anderson practices her faith daily and values time for prayer and reflection, which is important for her spiritual well-being. Socially, she enjoys attending the local knitting group, which provides her with a sense of community and purpose.”

Practical Tips for Effective Communication


“I always ensure to practice active listening with all residents. For instance, when Mrs. Smith is sharing a story about her past, I nod, make eye contact, and repeat key points to show I’m listening and understanding. If she seems emotional, I acknowledge her feelings by saying, ‘I can see how much this means to you.’ I avoid using complex terminology, opting for simple and clear language like ‘Let’s have a chat’ instead of ‘Let’s discuss your concerns.’ When Mr. Thompson takes time to find the right words, I wait patiently and do not rush him, showing respect for his pace of communication.”

Documenting Information


“I have documented Mr. Carter’s personal history, preferences, wishes, and needs in his care plan. His love for classical music is noted under preferences, and we’ve arranged for him to have access to a radio in his room. His wish to remain at home and receive palliative care is clearly stated under future care wishes. In terms of needs, the care plan outlines his daily requirement for assistance with mobility and personal hygiene. This comprehensive documentation ensures that all members of the care team are aware of and can respond appropriately to Mr. Carter’s specific requirements.”

These examples provide a clear illustration of how to gather, understand, and document an individual’s history, preferences, wishes, and needs in a real-world context. They show the importance of listening attentively, observing carefully, and engaging in meaningful conversations to provide personalised and dignified care.


Finding out an individual’s history, preferences, wishes, and needs is vital for providing high-quality, personalised care. This approach ensures care is respectful, dignified, and responsive to what truly matters to the individual.

Use direct conversations, observations, and collaboration with family and other professionals to gather this crucial information.

Document and review it regularly to keep the care plan relevant and effective. This ensures the person’s well-being, happiness, and dignity are always maintained.

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