Laura Higgins attended this year's Restraint Reduction Network conference. She gave us her thoughts on the event:
Restraint reduction is everyone’s business, from regulators to clinicians, academics parents, people who use services, policy makers and experts by experience. The RRN conference provided a platform for people from all of these perspectives to share best practice and provide thought provoking ideas and discussions.
The conference opened with a presentation from Beth Morrison, mum to Calum and CEO of Positive and Active Behaviour Support Scotland. She spoke passionately of how in the absence of Positive Behaviour Support, her son endured restraint that almost cost him his life. She brought attention to the widespread use of 'isolation', or 'time out' and of rooms/cupboards which are widely being used in mainstream and special schools to ‘manage’ behaviour. The use of such rooms are often not documented or regulated, resulting in poor quality of life and trauma for the individual.
The presentation by expert by experience Rafik Hamaiza (Cygnet Healthcare and CQC) showed the powerful influence people who have been through the recovery journey in services can have to help others achieve the same positive outcomes.
Key threads ran throughout the conference; trauma-informed care and trauma-informed teams, data and evidence-based practice. Brodie Paterson from CALM focused on supporting restraint reduction through debriefing, and Dr Marc Bush from Young Minds reported how poor and patchy reporting currently is,and how this can be improved.
There was a strong presence from regulators and policy makers, Dr Theresa Joyce (Care Quality Commission) and Teresa Fenech (NHS England) presented on the current situation in various settings and user groups.
The overarching focus of the conference was reducing inequalities. RRN Chair Professor Joy Duxbury and Katharine Sacks Jones from Agenda UK focused on gender inequalities in restraint and restrictive practices. They highlighted that a diagnosis such as a learning disability is also an indicator for higher levels of restraint use.
The importance of the network was highlighted throughout the conference and an ongoing commitment to share best practice, to step away from the ‘day job’, and reflect and challenge current practice so we can ultimately improve quality of life.