3 tips for your Use of Restraint policy

The new Health and Disability Standards come into effect in February 2022. At the Policy Place we’re updating our online policies for our members. We’ve just finished updating the Use of Restraint policy.

If your policies are due for an update to come into line with the new Health and Disability standards then now is a good time to join the Policy Place online policy and procedure service. Contact us now to find out more.

But if you’re into DIY here are some tips on what to cover in your Use of Restraint policy.

The goal is elimination 

Your policy purpose should clearly state upfront your agency’s intent to eliminate or at least, minimise the use of restraint against any client.

The purpose should reflect throughout your policy and procedure. Importantly, require that restraint be used only as a last resort and only after alternatives like de-escalation have been tried.

Assessment and planning are important

If a person is identified during assessment to have challenging behaviours that may necessitate the use of restraint, this should be addressed in planning with that person and their family, whānau, other supports.

In this context, everyone can come to a common understanding and agreement about relevant behavioural triggers, what works, doesn’t work, relevant cultural values and how, when and what should be applied to address challenging behaviour if prevention and de-escalation don’t work.

Accountability is crucial

The recent release of the Abuse in Care interim report in Aotearoa/NZ highlights the importance of accountability for the use of restraints on people. This is a key requirement of the Health and Disability Standard for Use of Restraint.

Keep a record

It means that your policy and procedure should ensure that a record is kept of details like:

  • when, why and how restraint was used
  • the impact and outcome of the restraint
  • support and debriefing that was provided or offered to the person
  • how the use of the restraint was monitored
  • how a recurrence can be prevented in the future.

Report and improve

It also means that your policy and procedure should require reporting. Firstly, as an incident report. Secondly, that aggregate data on restraint incidents are shared at all levels of the organisation so that trends and systemic issues can be identified and addressed.

Lastly, your policy and procedure should support accountability for change and improvement.

If improvements are indicated from review at a client and/or aggregate level of restraint incidents, your policy should require these to be made unless there is good reason not to do so (aka an exceptional reason not to). The decision with reasons should be documented.

There’s a lot to do to prepare for the new Standards. So let us help.

Get in contact to find out more about our online policy and procedure service at the Policy Place.