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How to Create a Comprehensive PBM Policy: Best Practices for Care Organisations

James Hourihan, Author

In the dynamic and often challenging world of care, the development and implementation of a PBM policy is crucial. This policy is not just a regulatory requirement in the UK; but a lasting commitment to the safety and well-being of both staff and the people they support. A comprehensive policy guides care professionals in confidently managing challenging behaviours and aggression, ensuring a safe environment for all. This article outlines the best practices for creating a comprehensive PBM policy tailored for care organisations.

Understanding Positive Behaviour Management and Its Importance

Before diving into policy, it’s essential to understand what positive behaviour management entails. The prevention and management of violent or aggressive behaviour is a somewhat broad and outdated term given to positive behaviour management, which might include restraint training. These management strategies are designed to prevent, de-escalate, and safely deal with violent and aggressive behaviours. In care, the first step is understanding its root causes. These can arise due to various factors which we’ve covered in a previous article you can find here. A well-crafted PBM policy not only protects staff and people being supported but also aligns with the ethos of compassionate, respectful care. It should also form part of your overall restraint reduction strategy.

Key Elements of a Comprehensive PBM Policy

Risk Assessment: Your policy should have procedures for identifying risks associated with violence and aggression. This includes assessing patient history, environmental factors, and potential stress triggers.

Staff Training: Adequate training in PBM strategies is crucial. Staff should be trained not just in non-restrictive physical interventions, but also in de-escalation techniques, communication skills, and understanding the underlying triggers and causes of challenging behaviour.

Clear Procedures: Outline clear procedures for responding to incidents of violence or aggression. This should include step-by-step guidelines on intervention techniques, reporting procedures, and post-incident reviewing.

Multi-disciplinary Approach: Encourage a collaborative approach involving various professionals like healthcare providers, social workers, and security personnel. This ensures a well-rounded response to any situation.

De-escalation Strategies: Emphasise non-physical intervention and de-escalation techniques as the first line of response. While the focus is on prevention and de-escalation, non-restrictive physical intervention should always be viewed as a last resort.

Support for Staff and Patients: Post-incident support is vital. This includes medical care for any physical injuries, counselling services for psychological impacts, and a robust debriefing system which covers emotional debriefs as well as more structured and long term learning debrief.

Best Practices in Positive Behaviour Management Policy Development

Inclusive Formation: Involve a range of stakeholders in the policy development process, including frontline staff, upper management, and legal advisors. This ensures that the policy is practical, comprehensive, and compliant with legal standards.

Regular Reviews and Updates: The PBM policy should be a living document, subject to regular reviews and updates to reflect new research, changes in law, and feedback from staff and patients.

Transparency and Accessibility: Make the policy easily accessible to all staff members, up and down the organisational ladder. Clear communication about the policy and any updates is essential for effective implementation.

Training and Refresher Courses: Regular training and refresher courses for staff help to maintain high standards of care and ensure that the PBM strategies are correctly applied.
Timian’s PBM train-the-trainer course gives organisations the freedom to deliver our BILD Act certified positive behaviour management courses in-house, allowing for routine and up-to-date training.

Monitoring and Evaluation: Establish processes and mechanisms for monitoring the effectiveness of your PBM policy and make the necessary adjustments based on this feedback.


Creating a comprehensive PBM policy is a significant step towards ensuring safety and promoting a culture of respect and dignity. It is not only about compliance but about fostering an environment where both patients and staff feel secure and supported. By following these best practices, care organisations can develop a PBM policy that effectively addresses the complexities of violence and aggression in these settings, ultimately leading to better care outcomes and a safer working environment.

We provide practical, person-centred learning experiences that delve into understanding the underlying causes of challenging behaviours. Our BILD Act Certified approach contributes to an improved long-term, sustainable environment. We support organisations from the care, education and health sectors in England, Wales, South Africa and Chile. For more information, get in touch with a member of our team below.

About the author

James Hourihan set up Timian Learning and Development in 1994 and has over 30 years experience in delivering training programmes in positive behaviour management to staff across the UK and Overseas. He has developed training programmes which have been certified By BILD Act and approved by the RRN. James has a Bachelors in Development Studies and a Masters Degree in Social Sciences as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Disability. He also helped develop the BILD Physical Interventions Accreditation Scheme in 2002.

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