Sometimes we can tell when something is brewing for one of our patients. It might be their facial expression, tone of voice, snappish response to a normal reminder, restlessness, breathing pattern, body language, eye contact (or lack thereof) movement around the ward or other cues. PRN medication is an effective strategy, but perhaps we reach for it too easily and too quickly on occasion as the answer to everything. Maybe it might be better sometimes to use the patients own strengths and usual coping mechanisms to help them calm down. This initiative suggests a range of alternatives and provides the means to make them available to patients where possible.
Calm Down Methods is a box of equipment that can be used by patients to help lower their levels or arousal and agitation. When a patient is noticed to be tense and/or agitated, or showing other known indicators for them that they might become angry and aggressive, then these Calm Down Methods should be offered before considering PRN medication. A log book is used to keep a record of who has what, and when items have been returned. Please make clear to the patients who use them that these items belong to the ward and are on loan to them, not permanent gifts. All patients should be appropriately supervised when using these items, and some activities can be done jointly by the patient and a staff member. The box of items should be kept in a locked office, cupboard or staff room. After use, blankets and pillows can be washed on the ward, or taken away for cleaning by others as organised locally.
You must download and read the full intervention description before starting the implement this intervention.
Full intervention description of Calm Down Methods
List of equipment sources used during the Safewards RCT
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