Facilitating supported decision-making in behaviour support

My role as a PBS practitioner

People with disability have the right to be involved in their positive behaviour support (PBS) plans. This includes making decisions about what’s important to them and how they want to be supported. They may need your support to facilitate this meaningful engagement. 

Providing support for decision-making in behaviour support is the responsibility of PBS practitioners, service providers and supporters, including support staff. 

As a practitioner, you play a key role in facilitating supported decision-making in PBS. It takes careful consideration, planning and skill to: 

  • safeguard the right of people with disability to be involved in their behaviour support and planning 
  • help them collaborate and contribute to PBS processes and strategies  
  • increase their quality of life through enrichment strategies, systems change and improved environments 
  • address barriers to decision-making processes and systems that prevent their engagement and involvement in PBS  
  • support the development of capable and skilled decision supporters  
  • deliver best practice processes reflecting positive person-centred values and the right of people with disability to support for decision-making.

Positive behaviour support (PBS) comes from the principles of person-centred practice that seek to protect and activate a person’s human rights. PBS is increasingly the preferred approach of behaviour support in Australia and internationally. In Australia, PBS is the recommended approach for behaviour support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

What do I need to know about supported decision-making in PBS? 

As a practitioner, you’re responsible for providing PBS, which includes working with the person, supporters and service providers to develop and implement PBS plans. You may work in disability and community services, aged care, home environments and school settings.

There are many decisions to be made in the PBS process, for example, who will be involved, what will happen and how. You’ll need specialist knowledge and skills to support informed decision-making in this context, both in the PBS framework and the supported decision-making process and legislation.

You may have a dual role in supporting decision-making in PBS process. You may facilitate supported decision-making (alongside service providers) and be providing hands-on support for the person’s PBS decision-making.

Although supporters (formal or informal) are responsible for supporting people’s decision-making, as a practitioner you play an important part in supporting this process as part of PBS.

How I can facilitate supported decision-making in PBS

As a practitioner, you are responsible for facilitating effective support for decision-making in PBS. This includes:

  • Establishing foundations for the PBS process built on person-centred practice
    • Ensure people receiving PBS know how to access support for decision-making.
    • Model person-centred supported decision-making strategies from the outset of the PBS process. For example, identify ‘What is important to the person?’, ‘What does a good life look like?’, ‘What do they need to exercise control and communicate their choices?’ and ‘How do they want to be involved?’.
  • Embedding supported decision-making in PBS 
    • Work collaboratively with service providers and supporters (formal and informal) to understand the purpose and expectations of their roles in supported decision-making in PBS.  
    • Allocate adequate time and information resources to supported decision-making in PBS processes that are designed for the person.  

  • Building capability in decision supporters 
    • Encourage decision supporters to develop their knowledge of PBS to build effective supported decision-making. Advocate for further training where required.
    • Identify your own skill gaps and increase your capacity in supporting decision-making.
  • Identifying and addressing barriers to supported decision-making in PBS  
    • Seek feedback from people and their supporters about their experience of supported decision-making during PBS to shape and improve practice. 
    • As the PBS process unfolds check that the person has opportunities to build their decision-making capability.
    • Document parts of the PBS process which can be improved to increase opportunities in the future for people to make decisions about their PBS.

Case study continues

In Part 1 you heard Lauren’s about Lauren’s background and circumstances. In this part, you will consider how Sophie facilitates support for Lauren’s decision making.

Your task

Prepare to complete question 1 of your worksheet as you read through this part.

For a supported decision-making refresher, refer to ‘The person’s right to effective support decision making’ resources.

To find out more about PBS, go to Further Learning and Additional Training in your resources.

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Useful worksheets

The following worksheets will assist you:

These worksheets will help guide you through the facilitation process, record your process and reflect on what worked and what needs further improvement.