2.6 Principles of Informed Choice

It is important for each person involved in the rehabilitation process to apply consistently the concept of informed consumer choice.

The principles of informed consumer choice require that the counselor inform the consumer about, and involve the consumer in, choosing among alternative:

  • goals;
  • objectives;
  • services;
  • entities providing services; and
  • methods used to provide or procure services.

The consumer should enjoy the same rights as any person to make decisions that affect his or her life. To achieve positive outcomes, the consumer must be involved in decision-making at the greatest level at which the consumer is capable.

Informed consumer choice begins at the first meeting, when you explain:

  • the concept of informed choice;
  • the concept of an effective partnership between you and the consumer; and
  • the CRS process for receiving services.

Together, you and the consumer choose the providers who will provide assessments and other types of information necessary to determine the consumer’s eligibility.

During the development of the Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan (IWRP), you and the consumer jointly:

  • consider a variety of suitable goals that will help the consumer overcome impediments to independence; and
  • assess which goals are most consistent with the consumer’s needs, abilities, and other key attributes.

After you have identified the consumer’s rehabilitation needs, give the consumer information about the services that are available to meet the consumer's needs and are consistent with laws, policies, and the highest ethical standards. Your good judgment leads to the development of reasonable options to discuss with the consumer, facilitating his or her ability to make an informed choice. In some cases, there may be only one appropriate alternative that meets the consumer's needs and supports the policy.

If the alternatives developed are not acceptable to the consumer, or if preferences expressed by the consumer are not among the alternatives presented, discuss the options until you and the consumer reach a mutually acceptable decision. If you and the consumer cannot reach a compromise, inform the consumer of his or her right to appeal.