December 9, 2013

Challenging Behaviour - NHS Launches New Guidance

New NHS guidance on how to prevent and manage challenging behaviour related to a patient's clinical condition has been launched (5th December 2013).

The guidance is for the use of clinical and non-clinical NHS staff and managers and may also be of interest to patients and service users, carers and families.

Clinically related challenging behaviour by patients and service users makes it difficult for staff to deliver good care safely. It takes many forms, from mildly uncooperative to highly disruptive and potentially dangerous behaviours. Such behaviour is often related to a clinical condition or treatment and is a sign of distress and unmet needs rather than any intent to be challenging.

The guidance was developed by an expert group of leading doctors, nurses and training and security specialists, led by NHS Protect. It is supported and endorsed by a number of other leading organisations, including NHS England and the Royal College of Nursing.

It will help staff prevent and manage clinically related challenging behaviour by minimising a patient's distress, meeting their needs and delivering high quality personalised care, in an environment that is safe for staff, patients and visitors. It underscores the importance of staff employing good communication skills and being compassionate to build trust with patients and service users and better understand what leads to distress. This will ensure that appropriate care can be designed to prevent challenging behaviour.

Practical strategies are provided for staff to dynamically assess the situation when things go wrong, minimise the risks and respond to an individual's anxiety and distress calmly, by non-confrontation and de-escalation.