A new learning resource which has the potential to “shake up practices” within Welsh social care services has been launched by the Care Council for Wales.
'Positive Approaches: Reducing Restrictive Practices in Social Care' aims to provide an understanding of how to work using positive and proactive approaches and reduce the use of restrictive practices in social care.
It is relevant to all of those who provide social care and support to adults and children and young people.
Although aimed specifically at social care workers, the resource will be useful for people who use services and their families, as well as managers; employers; policy makers; commissioners; those in education and others who work in the community.
The focus of the resource is on enabling and ensuring best practice using examples and scenarios for illustration. It can be used in supervision; as part of induction; training sessions; appraisals and to inform policy; protocols; audit; quality assurance and commissioning.
Developed in partnership with the sector, Positive Approaches is structured around the values and principle of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act and is intended to be read and used alongside the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care.
Karen Wakelin, workforce development manager at the Care Council, said: “We are really pleased to have been able to co-produce a learning resource that will equip practitioners to reflect on the way they work and develop positive and proactive approaches that support safe practice with vulnerable adults or children who can, as a result of their circumstance, display behaviours that challenge us.
“The learning resource will help practitioners embed the principles of the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act in their work and, read alongside the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care, it is intended to ensure care practices which are safe, enabling and respectful.”
The resource has been widely supported by the social care sector in Wales, with members of the steering group established to help shape its contents all keen to see the resource rolled out to the sector.
Dr Edwin Jones, chair of the Learning Disability Advisory Group – Transforming Care Sub-Group, said: “This learning resource is extremely useful. We think that restrictive practice is a human rights issue where vulnerable people are being ignored and subjected to unnecessary restriction.
“In England they have the document Positive and safe: reducing the need for restrictive interventions and Wales had fallen behind somewhat. Now, this resource has filled a void and even extended good practice beyond what is now available in England.
“The style of the resource is accessible and user friendly and also gives examples of real life stories.
“We are impressed with the cross-client base, and that it also manages to highlight the importance of different approaches such as Positive Behaviour Support, Active Support and Restorative Approaches in reducing restrictive practices.
"The All Wales Community of Practice for Challenging Behaviour fully endorses this learning resource and we call for it to be rolled out across all service provisions in Wales and to be made available to all staff.
“We would like to congratulate the Care Council for Wales and all the stakeholders involved in the work on an excellent job in producing this resource.”
John Crabb, Acting Complex Needs Service Manager at Betsi Cadwaladr Local Health Board, added: “The spirit and philosophy of the learning resource is spot on and the use of real case examples really makes a difference.
“I hope that this resource will shake up practices within services.”
Steve Elliott, of the Loooked After Children Network, said: "All social care practitioners will be concerned about the use of restrictive practices none more so than those practitioners within residential child care.
“The Looked After Children Network therefore welcomes this learning resource which sets out the principles and methods for reducing the use of restrictive practices which will be of benefit to all practitioners, managers and providers of services in respect of setting practice standards.
“In particular the Looked After Children Network would recommend this resource be used in conjunction with its own positive behaviour management practice guidance developed for residential child care practitioners and managers.”
And Jan Wood, senior policy officer at Care Forum Wales, who also offered the perspective of a carer supporting someone with dementia, added: “This guide is a powerful tool for managers and trainers to develop staff, something to keep handy and 'dip into'. We really don't expect all staff to sit and read it all from cover to cover – but every manager should.
“What it says to me is if we all really use person centred approaches and like, respect and listen to the people we support, recognising we are all equal, there will be far fewer behaviours that challenge.”
For more, visit: Positive Approaches: Reducing Restrictive Practices in Social Care