Techniques, physical support and safety
Team-Teach training has evolved from a residential care and educational background. It continually emphasises positive relationships as being the key element in our working. The physical techniques help to protect and maintain these relationships. Where possible, the expectation is that course members will exhaust all behavioural support strategies before they physically intervene. Where and when there is time, the physical interventions must be a “last resort option” for staff. All physical techniques should be endorsed in policy and supported by management and those in “authority”.
The training emphasises physical support as just one part of a whole setting approach to behaviour support. Physical techniques are not be taught in isolation. In Team-Teach training, they account for only two out eight modules. The physical techniques have sufficient range and robustness to be appropriate across the age and development range, for both the intentional and non-intentional “challenging” individual. The physical techniques provide a gradual, graded system of response commensurate with the situation, task and individuals involved, allowing for phasing up or down as dictated to by the circumstances at the time.
There is an emphasis on appropriate and targeted verbal and non-verbal communication Paraverbal skills matter at all times, during a restraint however, it is what you say and how you say it that is important. The aim is for the person to calm down sufficiently so that staff can return the physical control and help find a better way. A C.A.L.M. (Communication, Awareness /Assessment Listening/looking and Making safe skills) approach is expected at all times when managing such situations.
Staff are encouraged to make a risk assessment, both before, during and after any serious incident involving positive handling. Running parallel with this risk assessment is the “duty of care” question they have both to the child and themselves. Training will comply with the Human Rights Act.
There is an emphasis on the Health and Safety of course members through-out the training. Support and co-operation are key values with the emphasis being on using the minimum amount of force that is necessary in order to achieve the objectives. That the resistance used in training is proportionate to the level of confidence and competence gained. Role-play is carefully controlled by instructors and is not used until course members have acquired sufficient skill and expertise.
Where a service user requires repeated physical management, the strategies and techniques should be planned for and agreed in advance. They should be written out and included in individual care/ health/ education / behaviour support plans. The physical techniques are constantly being evaluated and monitored, with safety for staff and service users being paramount.
Team-Teach acknowledges that no single technique is foolproof. All incidents and situations carry an element of risk. The physical techniques in Team-Teach minimise risk whilst providing a caring and considered response. If “authorised adults” are to acquire confidence and competence, there will be a need for distilled number of techniques to be selected, relevant to the setting concerned, to be refreshed and practiced on a “regular” basis. New staff should be introduced to Team-Teach as part of their induction, within no more than 60 working days.
Team-Teach promotes cross-agency, multi-professional collaboration – Family and Community Services, Education, Health – All have basically similar concerns and needs in this area. Although the training packages used may be called “different” acronyms, it would be to spread ownership and knowledge of what techniques are being used and in what setting. Similar values, rationale and principles should be present with a consistency of approach that is appropriate to the setting concerned.