Natalie, supported by Potens supported living team in Preston, has been working with Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust (LSFST) to help deliver their restraint reduction training program “Positive and Safe”. Her work has been commended by the team at LCSFT acknowledging her professionalism and the invaluable perspective she gave to the teams attending – read their fantastic feedback below.
Martin Jones is a Violence Reduction Nurse Specialist who delivers the training, he explains:
As part of this training we use service users to give first hand experience on the following:
• How it feels to be restrained
• Self Injury
• Admission to hospital (process/feelings)
• Staff approach and de-escalation – and the importance of this
• The use of language from staff that is beneficial and detrimental in all the above situations
Natalie was identified as someone who may be willing to participate. I approached her through her current housing manager. Natalie agreed to meet with me initially to discuss the training and what it would be about, as well as the aims for the training in terms of improving service user experience of inpatient settings by educating staff and improving attitudes and approach to care which should reduce the need for restraint in mental health settings.
Natalie was very enthusiastic about this. It was clear that it is a topic she felt strongly about and wanted to be involved in. We talked about the format of the training course and we agreed on how we would approach the topics when she got there. Natalie was able to voice what she felt she needed in terms of support during the training and how she felt she could best deliver what she had to say. She decided that to make it more relaxed we would use a ‘question and answer’ session around any material she prepared, as well as allowing the staff on the course freedom to ask questions around the topics covered.
We discussed the feelings she may have as a result of discussing such personal feelings and how she could best mange them, and agreed that if at any point she felt she did not want to be involved then she could withdraw at any time with no issues. We also discussed how the change in dynamics may feel in that she was coming to hospital, not for admission, but to teach, and that this may feel strange at first.
Natalie and I met a further two times prior to the training. One to see how she was getting on in preparing for the training and to make sure we were doing everything we could to support her emotional well being. Natalie had clearly given a lot of thought to what see wanted to get across to the staff, and had made notes and recalled situations and relevant events that had impacted on her through her time in mental health care. What impressed me about this preparation was the considered and balanced arguments she put forward, showing a clear and realistic expectation from staff, as well as the impact on service users. She showed a lot of insight into the needs of others, not just of her own needs.
On the day of the training Natalie was dropped off by a member of staff and met me independently in the foyer of the Harbour. After we had diner we went to the training room and met the staff. Natalie was a little nervous at first – as was to be expected, but soon found her stride. She was articulate, insightful and clearly had a lot to offer the staff about how they may be influence staff culture and change their approach for the better. Staff felt able to ask questions without feeling like they were imposing on her, and Natalie was able to answer with considered and balanced answers. The session with the staff lasted roughly 90 minutes – much longer than I had anticipated, due to the benefits the team were clearly getting from her insight.
Natalie then assisted us in our final activity – a ‘Dragon’s Den’ formatted activity aimed at the staff ‘selling’ ideas that would benefit the ward. Natalie was a judge and helped to pick the best ‘pitch’ which was then to be implemented by the team onto the ward.
It was brilliant to see Natalie involve in this training. The perspective she offered to the team was invaluable. From the feedback forms (there were 7 delegates), 5 of them specifically named Natalie as the best part of the training and that what she said would influence how they worked on the ward. They felt she had offered them a perspective that they had not considered before. I know from discussion in the following days that the team were actually planning to implement things to the ward as a direct result of the discussion they had with Natalie.
We are planning some more training for Women’s Services in May and would be delighted if Natalie could join us again to talk to more staff on the acute wards.
From all the Positive and Safe team – thank you for supporting Natalie to help us. But most of all – Natalie – thank you for your input into the course – it was the most important part of the training for us, not only to influence the ward but also to reflect on our own practice to make sure we continue to try and improve our delivery of care to people in mental health services.”
Amazing feedback and work Natalie!