In December 2006 our Learning Disability Services conducted a review of the services provided by its physical intervention training team. This review highlighted the following key issues:
At a physical intervention team meeting a decision was taken by the trainers to enquire about other training models and sources of accreditation. Two of the senior staff decided to contact colleagues in surrounding areas to enquire about the training models they used and ask for recommendations of organisations that could assist us. 'Positive Response Training' and 'Positive Behaviour Management' were two phrases that consistently cropped up, so as an organisation we decided to contact Positive Response for more information.
After obtaining some literature about Positive Response and the PBM model we convened a meeting and invited anyone within the organisation to attend who was prepared to consider becoming a trainer. At the meeting we stated that we were thinking of converting to a different training model and provider and said that this would mean that current accredited trainers and new prospective trainers would all have to go through training together if we switched to the PBM model. In short, we would all be 'starting from scratch' because the current trainers would have to 'unlearn' old techniques and retrain in PBM. Following the meeting four additional staff put themselves forward to become physical intervention trainers.
In January 2007 our organisation liaised with Positive Response headquarters in Cornwall with a view to commissioning training. Positive Response contacted other local providers to see if they had any staff who needed to be trained and who could join up with our staff to make a viable group. At our own local training centre we were joined by staff from other districts and training went ahead over a period of ten days.
Everyone that completed the course passed and everyone said that they enjoyed the training. Our staff said that they were impressed with the quality and range of supporting materials that the trainers provided, in particular the training manuals and prepared Power Point presentations. The most noticeable improvement for individuals who had trained in other models was that the accreditation process, whilst thorough, was less stressful. The techniques we were taught were felt to be more relevant to community settings and a lot of the techniques that we hardly used e.g. release from a bear hug, had been designated 'bespoke' techniques and therefore were not included in list of techniques to be learnt as a matter of course. Having to remember fewer techniques was a bonus when it came to the 'passing out' accreditation assessment.
Following the training and accreditation, all the staff who qualified as physical intervention trainers actively utilised their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the workplace. Our original 'Conflict Prevention and Management' training materials have been updated and local staff teams have been retrained in PBM. As a team, we have witnessed the newly qualified physical intervention trainers growing in confidence whilst facilitating training and supporting staff to deliver proactive interventions.
An additional bonus of switching to the PBM model was that within 12 months Positive Response had adapted the 'toolbox' of techniques for use with children. Eighty percent of our trainers have now undertaken training in the 'child specific' techniques and this has opened the physical intervention service to more individuals, families and care staff.
The switch over from the old model to the new PBM model has been relatively painless and looking back we all feel that the service has developed as a result. At the last regional meeting that Positive Response hosted in Manchester, our team delivered a presentation outlining how the use of restraint techniques had reduced significantly since adopting the new model. The four key issues that were identified during the review of 2006 have all been successfully addressed and it is refreshing to find that staff are now wanting to become trainers rather than appearing reluctant to put themselves forward.
Training & Practice Development Facilitator
Community Services Bury (Learning Disability Directorate).