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Person Centered Planning

Person-centered planning (PCP) is a process for selecting and organizing the services and supports that an older adult or person with a disability may need to live in the community. Most important, it is a process that is directed by the person who receives the support. 

PCP helps the person construct and articulate a vision for the future, consider various paths, engage in decision-making and problem solving, monitor progress, and make needed adjustments in a timely manner. It highlights individual responsibility, including taking appropriate risks (for example, whether arranging for back-up staff is needed). Emergency planning is often part of the process. 

The PCP approach identifies the person’s strengths, goals, medical needs, needs for home- and community-based services, and desired outcomes. The approach also identifies the person’s preferences in areas such as recreation, transportation, friendships, therapies and treatments, housing, vocational training and employment, family relationships, and social activities. Unique factors such as culture and language also are addressed.

These elements are included in a written plan for supporting the person, which is developed based on those considerations.

The process may include a representative who was freely chosen by the person, and who may or may not be authorized to make personal or health decisions for the person. The person-centered planning process also should include family members, legal guardians, friends, caregivers, and others the person or his/her representative wishes to include. The role of agency workers, such as options counselors, support brokers, and social workers, in this process is to enable and assist people to identify and access the services they need and to provide support during planning. PCP should involve the individuals receiving services and supports to the maximum extent possible, even if the person has a legal representative.

PCP is an important component of all of ACL’s programs, and it is a cornerstone of the No Wrong Door systems model.

Important Links

Person Centered Planning and Practice Final Report

Five Competency Domains for Staff Who Facilitate Person-Centered Planning

PCP Workshop

In August 2017, ACL hosted a staff professional development workshop to learn about an example of a long-term services and supports system embracing person-centered thinking, planning, and practices. 

The District of Columbia's No Wrong Door system has incorporated the approach throughout all aspects of home and community-based services for older adults and people with disabilities, including independent living and behavioral health services.

ACL staff heard from former Director of the DC Department of Disability Services Laura Nuss, DC DDS Program Manager Erin Leveton, and Project ACTION! Co-Vice President Steven Powe. ACL's Shawn Terrell and Administration on former Disabilities Deputy Commissioner Bob Williams provided opening remarks.


Last modified on 06/14/2021

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