Good Day/Bad Day

What is the Good Day/Bad Day tool?

Good Day/Bad Day is a person-centred thinking tool that simply asks the person to describe what a typical day is like, starting with when they wake up and continuing until they go to bed. Then you can ask for the same detailed information about what an especially good day is like and a particularly bad day. This tells you what needs to be present for them in their day-to-day life and what needs to be absent.

In reality, the conversation is likely to meander. Some people cannot describe a good day or a bad day, but can tell you about the last week in great detail, so that you can gently ask which bits of the day were good and which not so good. If the person has not had good days for some time, they may be able to tell you about a good day from their past.

When the person cannot tell you directly themselves, then family or support staff can help.

Good Day Bad Day pic


You could ask:

'If you had a magic wand and were going to create a really good day for the person - what would happen? What would they be doing? Who else would be there?'

And then ask a similar question about a bad day:

'What would you do if you wanted to ruin someone's day?'

This teases out what is important to and for a person and it can then be used to make changes by asking 'What would it take for you to have more good days and fewer bad days?'





Click here to view the Australian template.



Michael Smull introduces person-centred thinking tools for understanding important to and important for, including the 2 minute drill and good day/bad day.



How can the Good Day/Bad Day tool be used?

Jane used Good Day/Bad Day to take more control of her life and her long-term condition:


'When I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis I had no idea of the impact it was going to have on my life. I thought, ok, now it has a name, give me the medication that'll clear it up and I'll be on my way, thank you very much. But I soon realised it wasn't going to be that easy. I've spent the last nine years having regular colonoscopies, short and long-term hospital stays, constant medication changes and as for the enema department, then don't even go there! I think I've tried them all! I was so full of steroids when I got married that I went up three dress sizes!

Janes example Good day bad day

'Back then, I presumed that you get poorly, get a diagnosis and then get on with it. I honestly thought that if I struggled on each day, do what the consultant, GPs and specialist nurses told me, then that was a good way of dealing with the colitis that attacked my body far too frequently.'

Jane used the template on and filled in her good day/bad day information. From this she thought about what she could do to have more good days.

Her good days included being able to eat what she liked, suggesting that food and eating out are very important to her. Her bad days meant no energy for running and being alone or isolated, suggesting that running and certain people were also important to her. She was able to make decisions about changes in her life and used this information to build her one-page profile.


Sandra also used the Good Day/Bad Day tool:

Sandra has just turned 47 and those who know her describe her as someone who is honest, passionate, insightful, courageous and committed to helping others. Sandra has struggled with her mental health and staying well since she was a teenager.

SAndra template pic

She has been in and out of hospital on countless occasions over the past 25 years and has repeatedly attempted suicide. Sandra is now at a stage where she feels she is in recovery. She has lots of good days and fewer bad days where she feels down and is hearing voices. Sandra was born in Lancashire and moved with her mother, brothers and sister to the Caribbean when she was three, and then moved back to England when she was 14. In 2000, there was a turning point in Sandra's life when she was allocated a black social worker. For the first time she felt listened to - particularly in relation to her cultural needs

Looking at Sandra's good day/bad day provides rich, detailed information about what is important to her, and clues about what support she wants and needs. Like Jane's example, it is also a way to have conversations that lead to action about what Sandra and the people supporting her can do to help her have more good days than bad.


To see Sandra's good day/bad day information, please click here.


More stories and examples

Helen's Good Day/Bad Day

Kirk's Good Day/Bad Day

Elizabeth's Good Day/Bad Day

Alice's Good Day/Bad Day


Related materials

A practical Guide to Delivering Personalisation, Person-Centred Practice in Health and Social Care.

Personalisation bookThis book will show how to deliver personalisation through simple, effective and evidence-based person-centred practice that changes people's lives and helps them achieve the outcomes they want. It covers why person-centred practice is relevant to the personalisation agenda and what person-centred thinking and person-centred reviews are, introducing the tools that can help you carry them out. It also explores the relationship between person-centred plans and support plans, and how person-centred practice can be used in the journey of support through adulthood - from prevention or the management of long-term health conditions to reablement, recovery, support in old age and at the end of life. There is also a chapter on taking a person-centred approach to risk.


Person-Centred Thinking Minibook

Person Centred Thinking MinibookA pocket sized, quick reference minibook of person centred-thinking tools. This includes: sorting what's important to/for us; the doughnut sort; sorting what's working/not working; communication chart; like and admire; relationship circles; learning log. Produced in partnership with The Learning Community for Person Centred Practice.



Person-Centred Cards

PCT Cards


These handy cards provide information on a range of person-centred thinking tools. Each card suggests the benefits of using the tools with individuals and organisations, and has step by step instructions.



All materials are available from the HSA Press website or by calling 0161 442 8271.



Related Courses

Person-Centred Thinking Skills, click here to find out more.



The Good Day/Bad Day tool is regularly discussed in our blog section.