Module 9 - Challenging Behaviours

Risks, and their management

There are a number of different types of risk and it is important to try and identify which ones are significant for an individual so that these risks can be assessed and managed. Some example of significant risks include the following: 1. Violence 2. Suicide 3. Self harm (cutting, head banging, skin picking, tongue biting) 4. Property damage 5. Vulnerability to abuse (this may be financial, sexual, physical or emotional) 6. Homelessness 7. Restrictive interventions (exclusion from activities, seclusion, restraint) 8. Side effects from medication (medication used to control behaviour may lead to adverse        effects) 9. Self-neglect (poor hygiene, failure to attend to medical and dental problems, nutritional deficiencies) The significance of a risk factor is decided by how likely it is to occur and what the impact of that behaviour is. For example someone who regularly assaults staff and other clients is presenting a significant risk that requires urgent management. On the other hand, someone who made a suicide attempt several years ago and has made no attempts since would have a lower risk profile. In many cases, the first step to managing the risk is to provide increased supervision and security. In residential settings this often means having extra staff.  Having a clear risk management plan that addresses the specific risks identified is also important. Sometimes staff may need additional training so they are able to deal with episodes of extreme behaviour. At times, for a small group of people, specialist facilities may be required that have the capacity to provide additional security. It is important to remember that containment or management of risk is not sufficient by itself. It is even more vital to identify and introduce strategies to reduce the behaviours that are increasing the risk, in order to maximise the quality of life and access to community supports for the person.  
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