Person-Centered Planning: Tools and Suggested Reading

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) describes person-centered planning in the following way: Person-centered planning is a process, directed by the family or the individual with long term care needs, intended to identify the strengths, capacities, preferences, needs and desired outcomes of the individual. The family or individual directs the family or person-centered planning process. The process includes participants freely chosen by the family or individual who are able to serve as important contributors. The family or participants in the person-centered planning process enables and assists the individual to identify and access a personalized mix of paid and non-paid services and supports that will assist him/her to achieve personally-defined outcomes in the most inclusive community setting. The individual identifies planning goals to achieve these personal outcomes in collaboration with those that the individual has identified, including medical and professional staff. The identified personally-defined outcomes and the training supports, therapies, treatments, and or other services the individual is to receive to achieve those outcomes becomes part of the plan of care.

Various Person-Centered Planning Tools

Essential Lifestyle Planning (ELP)

Solution Circle

  • A Solution Circle is a short and powerful person-centered planning tool that takes no more than 30 minutes to complete.
  • Solution Circle meetings work best with 5-9 people participating.
  • Solution Circles are typically effective in getting “unstuck” from a problem in life or work. It is a tool of “community capacity”—It assumes and demonstrates that nearby people, in any community or work place, have the capacity to help, if asked.
  • Solution Circle training materials:

Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope (PATH)

  • Developed by Marsha Forest, Jack Pearpoint and John O’Brien.
  • PATH is a creative planning tool which starts in the future and works backwards to an outcome of first (beginning) steps that are possible and positive. It is excellent for team building and can also be used to mediate conflicts. PATH is a great tool to use when a team feels “stuck’ or have a problem to solve.
  • The PATH meeting is facilitated by two people: The Process Facilitator manages the process, by talking to the focus person and other people in the meeting. The Graphic Facilitator keeps a graphic record of the meeting which is owned by the person.
  • PATH meetings can occur over a one or two day period (4-6 hours total) – The facilitated process has eight steps:
    1. Touch the dream: Get people to explore images of how they want their future to be—identify their purpose.
    2. Sense the goal: Get the group to look backwards from the future. Describe that positive, desirable future as if it had already happened.
    3. Ground it in the now: Describe the present and explore how that feels.
    4. Identify people to enroll: Who needs to be involved to make change possible?
    5. Recognize ways to build strength: How can we improve our skills, our relationships, our knowledge?
    6. Chart action for the next few months: What kinds of things will have to be done to realize the goal?
    7. Plan the next month’s work.
    8. Commit to the first step.
  • PATH planning training materials:

Personal Futures Planning

  • Developed by Beth Mount.
  • The person futures planning process suggests a series of tasks and provides a set of tools to help us begin the process with people to uncover their capacities, to discover opportunities in the local community, and to invent new service responses that help more than get in the way—Beth Mount.
  • The process has 6 steps:
    1. Getting to know you (relationship map).
    2. Finding capacities in people.
    3. Finding capacities in community life (the community building map).
    4. Creating a vision for the future (the futures map).
    5. Supporting people over time to take action and try new things (follow along meetings and action plans).
    6. Organizational change: Constructive system supports (designing platforms for change).
  • Personal Futures Planning materials:

Other Suggested Reading