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A Positive Behavior Support (PBS) plan is a forward-thinking approach aimed at helping people with behaviours that challenge. The plan forms the basis of positive behaviour support - a person-centred framework which uses evidence-based science to understand why behaviours happen and how to best create capable environments for individuals.

A PBS plan is created after a Functional Behavioural Assessment (FBA) has been completed and helps us understand why an individual presents with certain behaviours that challenge. 

The PBS plan helps identify strategies to minimise the risk of those behaviours occurring in the future and ways for staff to respond effectively when they do occur. It also sets achievable goals and creates a personalised way to improve an individual’s quality of life by detailing what is important to the person from their perspective and providing guidance to create capable environments.

The plan is made to support behavioural changes in those with conditions such as learning difficulties, autism and acquired brain injuries, and exists to outline strategies that will help the person cope with situations they find difficult.

What will you find in a positive behaviour support (PBS) plan? 

A Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) plan usually includes ways to manage behaviours that challenge, improve quality of life, and guides support workers and loved ones on how to track progress.

"We like to think of PBS plans as a pie. The majority of the pie is primary guidelines that look at improving the person's environment and quality of life so behaviours that challenge do not occur in the first place. 

Secondary guidelines look at those early warning signs that something has moved the individual off baseline but things have not escalated yet and it is very important to intervene and stop things getting worse. And then tertiary strategies that are used when the person is in crisis. So essentially PBS Plans offer strategies at every level." 

Jo Lourmpa, Group Lead Specialist Support Manager at Lifeways, says.

The different elements of a PBS plan can include: 

Behavioural goals and objectives 

A PBS plan will identify which skills will help the individual improve their quality of life and meaningful engagement, replace behaviours that challenge and develop coping mechanisms. The plan will also break down the steps to learn those skills based on the individual's abilities and strengths.

Behaviour prevention and intervention strategies 

Perhaps one of the most important parts of a PBS plan, this is where the strategies and techniques are defined to help prevent, reduce and respond to behaviours that challenge, and promote alternative strategies that fit different situations.

Data Collection and Monitoring

This section lists the documents that have been used to inform creation of the PBS plan, typically from the Functional Behavioural Assessment. This might have included watching, writing down incidents, using lists or other ways to measure. Looking at this information regularly helps inform changes to the plan if necessary.

Communication plan 

This part of the plan provides guidelines on how to adapt communication to the individual's skills. This is to make sure the right resources are always in place for the individual to communicate their needs in the way that works best for them and for staff to know how to adapt their communication.

Review and Revise

Just like any plan, it’s important to be flexible with the process if it isn’t working or has become outdated. Behaviour can change over time, so it’s important to ensure that the plan stays as effective as possible. 

Of course, a Lifeways PBS plan is personalised to an individual, meaning that certain elements will differ depending on a person's age, skills, and actions. 

An individual’s PBS plan is always thorough - and includes everything from their preferences, communication techniques and what’s important both to them and for them, to ensure that each individual receives an independent approach to their support.

What are the benefits of a Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) plan?

A Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) plan predominantly exists to enhance an individual’s overall quality of life. It’s not only there to manage behaviours that challenge, but to offer the right support for a person to help lead a meaningful life and learn new skills without unnecessary restrictions.

This is achieved by creating capable environments which offer proactive support, and by teaching functional skills which can help to increase independence.

Using PBS ensures that interventions are person-centred and focused on building positive relationships and skills.

How Lifeways can help

At Lifeways, we have a team of highly-trained Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners to help create plans and processes to ensure that everyone we support can lead a fulfilled life.

Find out more about supported living, or start your search to find support near you.

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