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Usually, if someone feels uncomfortable they will move about until they find a more comfortable position. Individuals with limited movement or mobility might not be able to do this. You should make sure that you recognise if they need support to feel more at ease. Apart from the individual telling you that they are in pain or discomfort, there are also non-verbal signs. The way they look, their body language such as gestures or facial expressions could be a good sign, for example doubling over, gritted teeth, pale complexion, sweating, tears or furrowed brows. Other messages could be becoming very quiet, tearful or aggressive.

If you know or suspect that someone is in pain or discomfort, work with them to try and find a way of making them more comfortable. This may be by helping them to change their position. Make sure that you do this with support from another worker if necessary and always in line with the individual’s care plan. You may notice that the equipment that they are using is causing them discomfort or pain. Take steps to change the positioning of equipment if necessary, always with the individual’s consent. If you are unsure about what to do always check with your manager or supervisor.

There may be additional environmental factors that could be causing distress. This could include wet or soiled clothing or bed linen, poorly positioned lighting or noise. Make sure that you follow your agreed ways of working for disposing of and changing soiled bed linen. Also, with any changes you are making, talk through your actions with the individual so that they understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. This will reassure them and keep them involved.

Well-being is the term used to describe feeling comfortable in one’s life. A person’s well-being may include their sense of hope, confidence and self-esteem, their ability to communicate their wants and needs, to make contact with others, to show warmth and affection, and to experience and show pleasure or enjoyment. It can relate to many aspects of life:

  • Spiritual - finding meaning and purpose in life (this could be through religious faith)
  • Emotional - how we feel about ourselves
  • Cultural - our sense of belonging
  • Religious - our faith and beliefs
  • Social - our relationships
  • Political - peace and stability in our homeland
  • Sexual - our intimacies
  • Physical - leading an active life
  • Mental - realising our potential and ability to contribute to society.

All these aspects of well-being make up who we are, or our identity. Everyone has different feelings, attitudes and goals. Each one of these aspects also influences your self-esteem and feeling of self-worth. If you were cut off from your friends and family you would quickly feel lonely and unloved. If, on the other hand, you were leading an active life, having the choice to do what you want with lots of friends you would feel valued and self-confident. You would have a good sense of identity and self-worth.

In order to promote the individual’s wellbeing, they need to be happy with as many aspects of their life as possible. If the individual thinks that something would help them to feel better; be positive, understanding, empathic and non-judgemental. Listen to what they consider important in their lives and try enabling them to make the changes they want, for example, to be able to practice their faith.

It is important that you raise any concerns you might have about the emotional or spiritual needs of an individual. Your line manager, supervisor, a senior member of staff or the individual’s carer will know how to look into what can be done to better meet these needs by working together with those important to the individual and other services. The individual’s family should also be informed about any concerns you might have as they may have had experiences on how to provide help themselves.

You will have noticed already how all the different person-centred values work together and none stand alone. Independence is associated with individuality and choice. The choice is closely linked to dignity and respect. All these values are there to give the person power to speak up and take as much control as possible in order to live a fulfilled life.