VODG backs focus on restraint training

February 7, 2019

Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) is backing a renewed focus on restraint training by the Restraint Reduction Network (RRN), which has led the development of the national training standards. There has been a lack of quality assurance for restraint training and too often training focuses on restrictive interventions, without sufficient focus on prevention or de-escalation, says VODG.

There is growing recognition among professional bodies and government departments (and arm’s length bodies) that whilst the use of any kind of restraint may on rare occasions be necessary to keep people safe, it is also traumatic and must be minimised in therapeutic settings, says RRN.

The standards provide a national and international benchmark for training in supporting people who are distressed in education, health and social care settings. These standards will ensure that training is directly related and proportional to people's needs. They will also ensure that training is delivered by competent and experienced training professionals who can evidence knowledge and skills that go far beyond the application of physical restraint or other restrictive interventions.

The standards aim to promote culture change, not just technical skills. They will:

  • Protect people’s fundamental human rights and promote person-centred, best-interest and therapeutic approaches to supporting people when they are distressed.
  • Reduce reliance on restrictive practices by promoting positive culture and practice that focuses on prevention, de-escalation and reflective practice to minimise use of restrictive practices.
  • Increase focus on prevention, understanding of the root causes of behaviour and recognition that many behaviours are the result of distress due to failing to meet needs.
  • Improve staff skills and confidence in how to keep people safe in crisis and to better understand how to meet people’s needs in order to prevent crisis situations.
  • Improve the quality of life and protect the fundamental human rights of people at risk of being restrained and those supporting them.
  • Where required, focus on the safe use of restrictive interventions including physical restraint.

The RRN has worked with Health Education England to produce the standards to increase focus on restraint training.


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