Safety management plan: challenging behaviour
This section deals with incidences where the child or young person exhibits challenging or aggressive behaviours. Rather than being a symptom of mental illness, this typically results from the child or young person being bored and confined to the ward area.
- It is important that clear boundaries are established from the beginning detailing expectations, rewards and consequences.
- A key principle of a safety management plan is to keep yourself and others safe. If a child or young person exhibits challenging behaviour then it is important to try and de-escalate the situation and to remove or resolve the triggers.
The following strategies should be used:
- Provide the child or young person space. If necessary ask team members to clear the area or take them to a more private area.
- Use non-verbal strategies such as having an open and relaxed posture, making eye contact but do not stare at them, and actively listen to their concerns.
- Use verbal-strategies such as offering reassurance or questioning to change or distract their train of thought
- Negotiate solutions and show empathy. For example, if the child or young person wants to have a cigarette, offer nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or other appropriate stop-smoking strategies
What if these strategies fail?
- If you believe that the child or young person is putting themselves or anyone else in danger then don't hesitate to call your security department.
- You may also feel that it is appropriate to have the police to assist you, such as if the child absconds.
- You should not tolerate behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable or in danger. Always follow your local Aggression, Violence and Harassment (AVH) policy which is available from your Hospital Trust.