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21st October 2015

Positive news and support for Challenging Behaviour

Two good news items are announced for those who support people with learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges. Firstly, the National Institute for Care Excellence published its quality standard for Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviour this month, with a focus on planned, managed and joined up support. By happy coincidence, a partnership between Skills for Care, Skills for Health and Health Education England has announced a fund of £550,000 in total to grant awards to help train staff in positive behaviour support (PBS).

The funding is aimed at helping people who are presently inpatients in hospitals or secure special accommodation, in a bid to speed their discharge, as well as those who need help to remain in the community or to move on to appropriate supported care. The money will be to deliver training for a team or group to work around the individual and help them live independently in the community.

How to apply

Applications can be made for awards of up to £8,000 to help cover the cost of staff development. Applicants can bid for as many of these awards as they wish. Skills for Care already has free access to PBS training on its e-learning platform as well as a number of other helpful resources. Go to to look at these. If you are interested in applying for a grant, then you should email and ask to be notified about registration.

NICE has concentrated on the responsibility of all agencies working with adults whose behaviour challenges to provide enlightened, competent and appropriate support in the new Quality Standard. Working to prevent unnecessary over-medication by raising awareness and early, targeted intervention, the pathway includes an essential assessment and personal care planning approach.

What’s it all about?

At the core, the standard holds the need for an annual health needs assessment by the GP to help with early identification of need. In identifying those with a risk of increasing or developing challenging behaviour, the standard requires there to be a plan which includes access to meaningful activities, privacy, dignity and fewer restrictive practices.

People whose behaviour challenges will have a designated person to coordinate their plan of care. There will be the involvement of specialist teams to help advise, manage and support families and carers, designed to reduce the risk of crises escalating, leading to unplanned emergency interventions such as admission to hospital or inappropriate prescribing.  The designated person will be responsible for ensuring continuity, consistency and regular review of care in line with the person’s needs and preferences.

As with all NICE standards, there is a wealth of useful information and links on the website, which I would recommend to anyone supporting people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. It is reassuring to know that despite the myriad bad news stories, there are these small but important nuggets of hope.

Ginny Tyler – QCS Expert Learning Disabilities Contributor

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