In Focus: Protecting your client  

Why personalisation is vital for support services

  • To understand the needs of seriously ill and vulnerable clients.
  • To get an idea of how to highlight the support services available to individual clients.
  • To know how to embed support services in the advice process.


Some support services offer a clear menu of services available, such as a course of counselling, physiotherapy, second medical opinion or nutrition consultations.

The issue with this approach is that the options available are limited and, by definition, will not be relevant for every client. In our experience, people often do not know what would be most beneficial for them.

The danger with this approach is that an individual will plump for something they think is most likely to help and do not find it beneficial, or on the other hand, conclude that nothing is relevant and get nothing.

A further issue with some services is the exclusion of some conditions or severities, particularly in the mental health arena.

Having plucked up the courage to reach out for help, which can be extremely difficult when struggling with mental illness, to then be turned away by the support service can be absolutely devastating for the individual, exacerbating their condition further. 

Ripple effects of ill-health

As we know, significant ill-health or life events do not exist in a vacuum, there are always ripple effects or consequences for families, work, finances, livelihoods or relationships, for example.

In our experience, those with a serious diagnosis or in bereavement are often more worried about the impact their illness or situation is having on those around them than they are for themselves.

There are many ripple effects stemming from a serious illness or difficult bereavement that we see on a regular basis. These can all be an additional burden for the individual to cope with on top of the illness itself.

We often see that most people try very hard to hide their feelings, worries and concerns from those close to them in an effort to protect and not to worry them. It is common for people to feel guilty about the impact on their family and friends. This is not just when they are reliant on family members for their care but even when independent they often feel guilty about the disruption and worry they are 'causing'. 

Likewise we see how young and teen children often have difficulties when a parent is very unwell and this is a major worry for parents and carers.

Additionally we often see that with long-term ill health work is usually not possible, or significant reductions need to be made. Obviously this can have a massive impact on finances and, in some cases, families can face losing their homes.