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Guide to encouraging informed choice and discussing risk

Page posted: 3/20/17

Page reviewed:

Page updated:

Legal authority

Minn. Stat. §256B.0911, subd. 3a, Minn. Stat. §626.557


What contributes to a quality life is different for each person. A support system that values quality of life must be built on and driven by a desire to understand, respect and honor each person’s values.

Person-centered practices help a person live a quality life by:

  • • Promoting independence
  • • Encouraging him or her to make informed choices about his or her life
  • • Recognizing that he or she has the right to take risks.
  • For more information and guidance, see DHS – Person-centered practices.

    Purpose of this guide

    This guide is to help support planners determine when and how to discuss with a person his or her right and ability to make informed choices that may include risk.

    Support planners may use this document throughout the entire service cycle, including:

  • • Discovery and learning (also assessment)
  • • Support and action planning
  • • Implementation
  • • Quality review.
  • Definitions

    Informed choice: A choice a person makes that is based on the following: his or her likes, dislikes and community-based experiences; the potential impact(s) on his or her quality of life; and information about other available options he or she receives from his or her support system.

    Maltreatment: May include physical, mental or emotional abuse; financial exploitation; caregiver neglect of a person’s needs (e.g., food, shelter, clothing, education, health, supervision); or a vulnerable adult’s neglect of his or her own needs.

    Risk: Potential exposure to danger, harm or loss.

    Support planner: A professional (e.g., case manager, care coordinator, certified assessor) who creates a person-centered support plan with the person. He or she is a mandated reporter of suspected maltreatment of children and vulnerable adults.


    In addition to his or her other responsibilities, the support planner must support and encourage the person to make informed choices, and respect his or her right to take risks.

    To meet this responsibility, the support planner must:

  • • Continue to work assertively with a person who refuses necessary services
  • • Understand his or her reporting duties under the Maltreatment of Children and Vulnerable Adults Act, including where and how to report suspected maltreatment
  • • Understand person-centered planning
  • • Work with the person to develop a plan that both meets his or her needs and wants, and addresses any identified risk.
  • Conversation guide

    This section provides guidance on how to support and encourage informed choice and discuss potential risk during a conversation that may occur during any point in the service delivery cycle. This conversation may happen in-person or over the phone.

    Step 1

    When the person shares his or her goals, wants and/or desires, the support planner and the person’s formal and/or informal supports help the person meet his or her goals, wants and/or desires. This includes identifying risk areas.

    Step 2

    When the person discusses how a goal, want and/or desire is important to him or her, the support planner:

  • • Addresses the risk area within the support plan; this does not require eliminating it, but rather managing it so the person remains successful
  • • Offers support options to the person, even if other members of the support team resist
  • • Recognizes the balance of what is important to and for the person to help him or her make an informed choice.
  • The person’s formal and/or informal supports participate in the development of the support plan.

    Step 3

    When the person shares what he or she likes and dislikes about the support options, including those to help manage risk, the support planner:

  • • Develops a support plan with the person that addresses each of his or her goals, wants and/or desires
  • • Ensures the person has information needed to make an informed choice about support options
  • • Identifies supports necessary for the person to be successful.
  • The person’s formal and/or informal supports share how they intend to support the person as he or she pursues his or her goals, wants and/or desires.

    Step 4

    When the person shares his or her successes and challenges with the support plan, the support planner:

  • • Identifies, with the person, any additional successes and challenges not listed in the support plan that occurred during the process of implementing his or her goals, wants, and/or desires; this includes identifying risk areas
  • • Recognizes opportunities to build on successes and address any challenges
  • • Updates the support plan as the person continues to share additional goals, wants and/or desires.
  • The person’s formal and/or informal supports share their observations of successes and challenges.

    How to report suspected maltreatment

    A mandated reporter can report suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult by either:

  • • Calling the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center (MAARC) at 844-880-1574
  • • Completing the MAARC VA-CEP Report, DHS-6303.
  • For more information, see DHS – Adult protective services.

    Additional resources

    DHS – Child protection
    DHS – Person-centered practices

    DHS – Person-Centered, Informed Choice and Transition Protocol

    Minnesota Board on Aging – Vulnerable adults
    Vulnerable Adults Mandated Training

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