In the second instalment of our 4-part World Alzheimer’s Month blog series we are focusing on the importance of ensuring proactive preventative measures are put in place within care settings, thus ensuring care staff are trained appropriately and correctly.
It is very common for environments to resort to a reactive manner towards incidence of violence and aggression which unfortunately is not ideal and ultimately, a short-sighted approach to care giving. It is ineffective and damaging to the overall safety of all; it results in increase stress to the service users and the staff alike. This stressful environment can continue to affect the whole culture of an organisation such as care standards, increasing staff absence and reducing staff retention rates.
A positive model of managing and supporting difficult behaviours is needed with proactive preventative means such as environmental strategies and individual based care giving.
In a similar way that a workplace reduces the risk of fire, proactively by ensuring the environment is safe and reduces the risk of fire occurring; approach to violence reduction should be the same. Environmental tactics aim to achieve an environment where dementia sufferers feel at ease and less prone to outbursts. It explores potential flash points or triggers and adapts the environment to reduce stress. Examples include changes to décor and furniture to promote calm and orientation, removing mystifying things which may cause aggravation and altering the processes that a home takes at meal times to promote a positive eating experience. In addition to this, a positive approach to training for staff to increase understanding about dementia is requires as is its impact on how the individual sees the world and how to support them. These strategies combined help to foster a more positive surrounding, which ultimately reduces the likelihood of a violent outburst. This should be the primary focus of the workplace; more time and attention should be given to this area of training than any other, but we cannot rely 100% on this section as no one strategy can ever be fool proof.
This is the second of a 4-part blog series during World Alzheimer’s Month. Check back next week for part 3 which will explore the second focus of the positive model of managing and supporting behaviour that challenges.
If you require training in dealing with violence & aggression in dementia care, please visit our managing challenging behaviour or positive behavioural support courses. We also offer a Dementia Awareness course.