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Ask your decision supporters should think about safe risk.
Safe risk recognises that there is risk in everything we do and the best way to protect yourself is to manage risk to reduce the likelihood it will happen, or its impact should it occur.
In the past the emphasis has been on protecting people with disability by preventing them from being exposed to any risk. Safe risk is about appreciating that people are less vulnerable when they learn or are supported to manage the risks that are in all our lives.
Sometimes supporters believe that it is part of their duty of care to prevent people with disability from making a risky decision. They may say their duty of care is the reason for not allowing a person to make a decision that they do not agree with.
However decision support is about enabling people to approach decision making in the same way as those that do not have a disability. The right to decide includes the right to make a decision that has a risk attached. Imagine for a moment, what your life might look like, if you took no risks at all? Sometimes we are willing to take a risk to make the things that we really want happen. Sometimes things work out. When they have gone wrong, think of the things you have learnt and discovered.
Your duty of care is to value the person’s right to decide and then think about solutions and safeguards that minimize risk without closing off opportunity.
Part of your role as a decision supporter is to be aware of the person’s vulnerabilities and give support. Work with the decision maker to identify possible risks and how likely these risks are to happen. This includes the risks that may come from not making the decision at all. Safe risk or risk enablement includes the development of strategies to manage the risk.
For example, if a person makes the decision to become responsible for their own shopping there may be a risk that they spend too much money. A shopping list could be one strategy that would minimise the risk of over spending without removing the opportunity to shop for themselves. Learning about money is another. Supporting a person to make a bad decision in a safe way is another. If a person decides to spend a little too much one week, then having less money the next week can be an opportunity to learn about budgeting.
First you find out what the risk is.
Then think of things to do that make the risk less likely to happen.
This is called managing risk.
Each of your options might have some risk.
Look at each option.
Than you manage it.
This means you do things to stop the risk from happening.
Or to make the risk smaller.
Or you make the chance that your risk will happen less.
Then you need to ask if you are willing for the risk to happen.
You ask this even after you have managed the risk.
There will be times when you do not want to take a risk.
Sometimes you might be willing to risk a bad thing to get a good thing.
Remember risk taking is part of your right to make your own decisions.
If things do go wrong you can learn from your mistakes.