restrictive and non-restrictive physical interventions

Restrictive and non-restrictive physical interventions: What’s the difference?

James Hourihan, Author

If you work as part of an organisation in the health, education, or social care sector that supports individuals who challenge, we understand that it can be difficult to know which is the most appropriate method to use in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those dealing with trauma.

This is where physical interventions training sometimes comes into effect and there are two main types: restrictive and non-restrictive. Both can be effective in certain situations, but it’s important to know the difference between them, especially when it comes to successful positive behaviour management. 

Restrictive physical interventions

Restrictive physical interventions are methods which involve some level of force to restrict a person’s freedom of movement through:

  • Direct bodily contact eg: staff holding their arms
  • Seclusion – supervised isolation away from others to prevent further risk.
  • Mechanical restraint – the use of equipment to restrict movement such as belts, vests or straps. 
  • Chemical restraint – the use of medication to calm and subdue challenging behaviour. 

The main difference between restrictive and non-restrictive physical interventions is that the former approach is considered to be more harmful and should only be used as a last resort, considering its potential to cause damaging physical and psychological injury to staff and the person recovering from trauma. 

Non-restrictive physical interventions 

Luckily, more positive alternatives are being implemented using non-restrictive interventions and breakaway strategies that rely on redirection or guiding a person away from a dangerous situation, without restricting their movement. This encourages a proactive level of care that does not hinder like restrictive interventions, but rather helps to establish a greater understanding and healthier relationship between staff and the people under their care. In short, when using less forceful tactics, we give more organisations the opportunity to develop a safer, supportive environment for all. 

Choose Timian For PBS training 

At Timian, we’ve been helping staff and individuals across the UK, Poland, South Africa and Chile to safely and confidently promote positive behaviour within their organisation. 

Our goal is to teach staff and caregivers how to use the least intrusive intervention possible with positive handling techniques that improves the quality of life for vulnerable people as part of a tailored support plan. 

If you’re interested in learning more about non-restrictive and restrictive physical interventions, consider signing up for a positive behaviour management training course with us. Simply get in touch by calling 800 987 4075 and a member of our friendly team will be happy to help.

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