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Every Lifeways Group service has access to a valuable resource – the Specialist Support Team. The team is made up of Specialist Practitioners and Trainers, led by Lead Specialists and headed up by the Specialist Support Manager. They offer a range of support to all staff who need it – including in-depth, specialist training, functional assessment and development of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) plans as well as help with transitions of individuals with complex needs.

What is Positive Behaviour Support?

Positive Behaviour Support or PBS is a framework that is used to understand the causes of challenging behaviour in individuals with a learning disability, autism or mental health condition. It involves a person-centred approach that aims to understand the reasons for challenging behaviour in the unique context of each individual, and ultimately provide support that will improve the life of the person and everyone around them.

Challenging behaviour is usually the result of an un-met need, and PBS begins with a complete assessment of the behaviour, including the social and physical environment and broader context within which it occurs. The assessment includes input from everyone involved – the person being supported, their family and all support staff. The assessment provides an understanding of the context of the behaviour that can be used to create strategies to reduce challenging behaviour and enhance the wellbeing of the person being supported.

Jo Lourmpa, Specialist Support Manager, said, “The Specialist Support Team works really well as a wrap-around service that is available to everyone who needs it. We work up and down the country supporting staff teams by providing tailor made training and competing robust assessments in order to understand behaviour. We can then build PBS Plans that focus on improving quality of life and reducing the need for interventions.

We have exciting plans for the future, driven by a comprehensive PBS Strategy that outlines our organisational standards, training provision and practices that are available to everyone.

Since April 2020 the team have worked tirelessly to implement the new standards across the organisation. We’ve been supporting managers through the completion of a Training Needs Analysis, and since the start of the lockdown we have worked closely with services and teams to make sure people we support understand the changes to their life and still have opportunities for meaningful engagement even if that was limited to their homes.”

One of our Registered Managers, Charlotte, has seen huge improvements in her service after completing training from the Specialist Support Team.

Charlotte said, “I started managing the service in October 2019. It was evident from the start that there was some low morale within the staff team and a tendency to react to behaviours of concern, rather than take a proactive approach. Having had some experience of PBS whilst working for a previous organisation, I was keen to develop my skillset in order to improve overall outcomes and the quality of life of the people we support. I also wanted to become a role model for positive practice to the staff.

In January 2020, I was offered the opportunity to attend the PROACT-SCIPr-UK® Train the Trainer course. This was a 4-day course held in Wakefield. It was well-structured and the instructors who facilitated the course were knowledgeable and clearly really passionate about what they do. 

Since attending the course, I have been able to use the knowledge and skills acquired to mentor my staff team, and build their confidence in supporting people who engage in behaviours of concern. There has been an improvement in the consistency of support provided and an increase in morale within the staff team.

Staff now focus less on historical behaviours and more on the here and now. The level of active support and proactive working has improved greatly and this is evidenced in a reduction of behaviours for some individuals we support and for one lady a reduction is psychotropic medication that was being used. The service has received compliments from external professionals regarding the improvements that have been made.”

We will be profiling the Specialist Support Team in the coming weeks and you can read more about Positive Behaviour Support here.

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