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November 10, 2023

A Personalised Approach to Supporting Individuals Through a Crisis

Prioritising the recovery stage for all parties to create positive outcomes for everyone.

As professionals and practitioners, we strive to create positive, supportive environments in our settings that mitigate the likelihood of a crisis occurring. 95% of the time, we can de-escalate, defuse and deflect when we encounter a situation that challenges us, by relying on strong, positive relationships and using tried-and-tested skills and techniques from our Team Teach toolkit.

However, the reality is that sometimes, situations do escalate and crises do occur. The crises themselves are not the issue; they cannot always be avoided. What is important is how we support the individual – and each other – through the stages of a crisis in ways that reduce risk, promote recovery and repair, and preserve the dignity of everyone involved.

To do this effectively, we need gain a deep understanding and knowledge of our service users (and staff) and tailor our strategies according to their individual needs. At the core of our practice lies the simple question: what is in the best interests of the individual involved?

Building a personalised approach into policy

Creating and embedding effective policies and practices that all stakeholders buy into allows us the agency to provide personalised support. If our preferred practice acknowledges that no two individuals are the same and what works for one won’t work for another, we then have the scope to develop a bespoke approach, built around individual need.

It is vital that everyone in our organisation is invested in this strategy if we are to avoid resistance or confusion, if and when an individual reacts in a certain way when in distress. For example, you may have a child in school who removes themselves from the classroom and heads out onto the playground to self-regulate during an incident. Or perhaps they are guided to a nurture room where they have the space and time to recover. In healthy, positive environments, these responses are viewed as tools to support, rather than a ‘reward’ for behaviour.

When there is a lack of clarity at policy level, we leave ourselves open to comments such as ‘That is rewarding behaviour’, or ‘That individual is getting special treatment’. If that is the case, it may be necessary to review and adapt our policies, emphasising our commitment to creating a culture where we reward on-task behaviour and support off-task behaviour in a way that reflects an individual’s needs.

Equality v equity

The most effective way to support behaviour is through a person-centred approach built on respectful relationships, consistency and fairness. With that in mind, it is important to draw a distinction between equality and equity, as this can help us to address perceived injustice or inequality when it comes to personalised care.

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