Person-Centered Planning

Person Centered Planning and the New Individual Service Plan (ISP) Format

Over the past several years, the Lucas County Board of DD has been in a cultural shift.  Previously, we had been focused on the staff and the delivery of services; now we focus on the people served and what is important to/for them.  Instead of focusing on deficits and what people can’t do, we are focused on what people can do and then tailor the services around the things they need some support in doing.

In order to accomplish this, we had to revise the format of our Individual Service Plan (ISP).  To revise the ISP, the Lucas County Board of DD met with stakeholders that included providers, an individual served, SSAs, and county board staff from other departments.  This was a collaborative effort to get a format that would better allow for a person centered approach, be easy to follow, and relevant.  SSAs have been using this new format since June 1, 2015.

Revising the format would allow people to visually think differently about the Individual served as well as assist the ISP team to have a different conversation at the ISP meeting.  While there are still things in the ISP that are required due to Medicaid rules, most of that old unnecessary jargon was removed.  The ISP also must address the things identified by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) in the rule governing Service and Support Specialists (SSA’s).  DODD wanted to ensure the cultural shift towards person centered planning.  So, in the updated SSA rule, they indicated that SSA’s must identify certain things in a person’s ISP.  These things include: what is important to and for the individual, things that are working and not working in the individual’s life, known and likely risks, and the individual’s path to community employment.  Our new ISP format contains all of these elements and more!

Additionally, DODD updated the rule governing behavioral supports.  There used to be a separate plan for an individual who needed some assistance managing this area of his/her life.  Now, these supports are incorporated into the ISP for those that need them.  These elements involve communication, routines that help people through their day and often times known and likely risks.   In adding these elements, we have found that many people often have routines that make their day better and ways that people can better communicate with them.  So, often, the SSA is able to add information into these sections that is helpful for people to know about the person so that they can provide the best possible service to the individual.

Another new component to the ISP is the identification of desired outcomes for the individual.  The purpose of this is to assist people to try new things and to grow and achieve their desired outcomes.  This is a very important conversation, and one that individuals served are, sadly, not used to having.  However, as these conversations happen more and more, people are really thinking about their goals/dreams/desires and really working with their team to achieve their identified outcomes.

Thus far, feedback indicates that the group achieved its goal.  If you have any thoughts or comments you would like to share, please feel free to call or email Michele Myerholtz, Assistant SSA Director, at 419-308-2477 or