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Review leads to calls for greater training and regulation on the use of restrictive interventions
Respondents to The Disability Royal Commission’s Restrictive Practices Issues Paper have called for ‘restrictive practices’ to be used against people with disability to be a method of last resort.
According to the survey’s participants, restrictive interventions are being used daily due to operational convenience, inadequate training, cultural lack of awareness and understanding of the rights of people with disability.
Due to this, respondents said the use of restrictive practices had become normalised as an acceptable way of handling a situation in many settings.
Recommendations to reduce the use of restrictive practices include, ensuring the use of restrictive practices are supervised by properly trained professionals who are regulated by nationally consistent laws, accreditation and independent monitoring.
Education was also highlighted as a key area to ensure people’s rights are understood in relation to restrictive practices.
Last year the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission revealed in evidence to the Royal Commission that it had received reports of 302,690 unauthorised uses of restrictive practices for 2019/2020 - 78% of which were reported in just the second half of the year.
Disability Royal Commission: Overview of responses to the Restrictive practices issues paper published today
Too often we see restrictive interventions put in place based on staff’s own beliefs, values, out of habit and for staff convenience. Gaps in skills and training are clear and staff need to better understand and respond to the behaviours and needs of those they support, thereby enhancing opportunities, choices and quality of life.
Maybo training starts with an understanding of human rights and recognising restrictive practices (it is surprising how many staff do not recognise practices that are restrictive). We then develop (trauma informed) practical skills for building positive relationships and reducing and managing behaviours of concern.
However, while training is important, we also need to remember that 'culture eats policy and training for breakfast', so clear leadership and active supervision is essential. Greater focus on supervisory skills and accountability is needed to deliver and maintain healthy cultures.