Risk Management

Successfully turning problems into success requires goal setting, planning, proactive environments and a motivation to change for the better. Essentially, this defines the process of Risk Management – a process that will minimize specific problems and the effects of those problems. This approach will benefit anyone who tries it.

  1. Identifying problems
  2. Analyzing problems
  3. Examining the feasibility of support techniques
  4. Selecting the appropriate support techniques
  5. Implementing the selected support techniques
  6. Monitoring results and revising the support approach

Risk Management is such an effective process that some organizations employee dedicated risk management professionals and even whole departments. Even you can be a risk manager if you dedicate yourself to planning, organizing, leading, and controlling the factors which can cause behavioral crisis.

Therapeutic Programming

Support for any issue can only be created with Therapeutic Programming – creating an environment where expected problems are proactively managed with appropriate resources, support and training. This approach is very common and utilized is so many contexts:

  • Family homes
  • Foster homes
  • Schools and day care centers
  • Camps and after-school programs
  • Detention centers
  • Adult family homes
  • Assisted care facilities
  • Supported employment settings
  • Hospitals

Often, the decision makers choose to not implement therapeutic programming for many reasons. Some feel creating a structured environment will appear over-bearing, punitive or somehow prevent people from learning how act appropriately. Sometimes, these decision makers assume people should already know how to conduct themselves, as well as possess the responsibility to always maintain that conduct. There are even situations in which the decision-makers themselves are not able to articulate the behavioral expectations.

Insufficient Therapeutic Programming can contribute to the following problems:

  • People don't actually know how to behave
  • Inconsistent expectations inhibit or misguide learning
  • Problems can manifest longer and larger before there is a response
  • Reacting to problems can unintentionally cause them to occur more often
  • Inconsistent responses confuse the cause and purpose of the problem
  • Abuse and neglect are more likely to occur and less likely to be detected
  • Creates problem-focus rather than achievement-focus (self-reinforcing downward spiral)
  • In the end, problem-focus requires more money, time and resources while achievement-focus naturally leads to efficiencies

System-wide Implementation and Coordination

The best support is comprehensive, integrating the ranks and resources. When everyone is on the same page, everyone wins! Below are predominant ways to proactively manage behavioral crisis intervention.

Proactive Environments

A Proactive Environment is an environment tailored to meet the needs of the individual, designed for safety, and created to encourage effective learning opportunities. Use strategies that effectively maintain appropriate social behavior and forge positive relationships and interactions.

Think about the likely scenarios you will deal with. How can you modify the environment to prevent them from happening? Consider such issues as safety, expectations, communication, instruction and support.

Integrate Policy and Procedure

"What is expected is inspected"
  • Achieve more effective outcomes using Therapeutic Programming
  • Increase effectiveness of supports to everyone
  • Increase return on training investment
  • Minimize your liabilities and miscommunications
  • Increase effectiveness of staff support and supervision

Training requirements

How will you ensure that everyone will be properly trained and will maintain sufficient skill? Are there specific job roles which require training? Do they have the same training requirements?

Use of Force Policy

A Use of Force Policy essentially defines what can be and cannot be done to people in support. This is particularly required in settings which need physical intervention techniques to maintain safety. Typically, policies reflect accreditation and regulatory requirements as well agencies standards.

This kind of policy isn't strictly required everywhere, but it is a really good idea to have one, even if not required. Ask the school district that payed over $24K in legal fees to ensure they could fire a staff who kicked a student. Or ask the district that didn’t complete it’s mandatory reporting requirement from an incident of staff abusing a disabled student or look at all the instances of schools getting cleared out after a staff used their personal pepper spray to attempt to break up a fight. How many of your agency staff right now are carry a personal taser or have pepper spray in their desk? Are they allowed to use it as a behavioral intervention?

Get a free Use of Force Policy Development Guide

Abuse Prevention and Identification

Let's face it, today in your agency, someone could be abused by one of your staff – whether intentionally or unintentionally. Despite background checks and staff training, a child or a well-meaning adult often does not report an abusive relationship until something grave happens. Abuse often occurs and recurs within settings without the administrator's knowledge.

There are some things you can do now, however, to prevent this abuse and root out inappropriate behavior. As a service to you, I am writing today to invite you to a free training opportunity. This training is offered to your agency to raise awareness of these important issues. The training also fosters support discussions at the local level and provides valuable resources to help administrators identify and prevent student abuse in your schools (or other settings.)

Get a free Abuse Identification and Prevention for Administrators Best Practice Cheatsheet

Postvention Prevents Problems

Or, how to make behavior problems and aggression stop now! When a crisis occurs, you need to de-escalate it well. Actions may threaten safety which needs to be protected. A crisis can be de-escalated verbally and non-verbally. A safety-threatening situation might be better resolved without physical contact. But the most critical factors about the way a crisis is handled are what happens after it is over.

When you take the time to find out what happened and why, you take that time because you care to avoid that situation in the future. The surprising key to making prevention happen is the process of Postvention. To prevent something, it first needs to be expected to happen. One could say that foresight is improved with hindsight. Postvention is a critical pivot point in the successful management of behavior and aggression problems and a must for the elimination of such issues.

  • Now know what to prevent
  • Hindsight improves foresight
  • Deepen relationships
  • Learn from ourselves and others

Maybe we were unable to prevent the crisis from occurring this time, but what we learn from it we can use to prevent it in the future. Thusly Postvention is Prevention. By having an open mind and learning from our mistakes in the pursuit of growth and success, we can overcome behavior and aggression problems more effectively than by trying to control the behavior itself.

The Best Problems are the Ones You Don’t Have Anymore