Developming a Healthy Profile
What is a Health Profile?
A person-centered Health Profile is a document that brings together all the information about the health of an individual. A Health Profile can keep a person’s helpers (DSPs, family members, friends) up-to-date about the person’s health. This article explains how to write a Health Profile.
People living in Community Care Facilities already have documents like Health Profiles: current physician’s reports, health histories, and Individual Program Plans (IPPs). These documents can be found in an individual’s file.
Why is a Health Profile important?
Individuals with developmental disabilities may face complicated health problems. As a helper, it is your responsibility to monitor the health of the people you support. The first step is to know about each individual’s health and be able to communicate with other support people about an individual’s health.
The best way to communicate with an individual’s support team about the individual’s health is to develop a person-centered Health Profile. Developing a Health Profile using a person-centered approach means planning with the person, not for the person. Once it’s finished, make sure that everyone who supports the individual knows about the Health Profile and has read it.
If you know the person you support well, you may think you know all the information already. However, it can still be helpful to sit down and talk about the person’s health with the other members of their support team. It is also important to write the information down in a way that is easy for everyone to find and understand.
How do I write a Health Profile?
You can develop a Profile by getting together:
- The individual you are supporting
- People who know and care about the individual (family, friends, helpers who support the individual)
- People who know about the individual’s health (doctors, nurses, helpers who support the individual, Regional Center Service Coordinator)
Meet together as a group and ask the individual's support team a series of person-centered questions. A Health Profile is a one-to-two page summary of what people said in the meeting.
What information do you need to write in the Health Profile?
What is working well with the individual’s health?
- How they feel on a day-to-day basis
- What ongoing health problems they have and how they are being treated
- Things the individual should keep doing
How could the individual’s health be better?
- Diet, exercise, and weight
- Things the individual should stop doing
- Things the individual should start doing
- Things the individual should do more often
What medicine and vitamins does the individual take?
- What medicines or vitamins they take
- How much they should take (dosage)
- What time(s) they should take it
- Why they are taking it (diagnosis)
- Who prescribed the medicine
What do others need to know to help the individual stay healthy?
Ask the individual:
- What should others know about your health?
- How can they help you stay healthy?
Ask the team:
- Are there other things the support team should know?
- How can the support team help the individual stay healthy?
- Write a one-to-two page summary of what people said.
- Give a copy to everyone who helped develop the Health Profile and to other helpers who support the individual.
- Most importantly, change the Health Profile when the individual’s health needs change.
A Sample from a Health Profile Meeting
On the following page, you will find a sample of a Health Profile. The one you develop doesn’t have to look exactly like it, but it gives you some idea about how it might look.
Sample: How John Stays Healthy
What is working well with John’s health?
John says –
• I feel good and I don’t get sick very often
• My medicine helps the pain in my legs
Others say -
• John gets plenty of exercise
• His blood pressure is lower than six months ago
• He walks to the bus stop every day
• He stays away from salt and sugar
• He is happy most of the time
How could John’s health be better?
John says –
• I could walk someplace for exercise on the weekend
• I could remember to take my medicine on my own
Others say -
• He could do more weight bearing exercises
• He gets very sad on the weekends when he has nothing to do
• He could take Vitamin D every day
• He could gain a few pounds