What is Positive Behaviour Support (PBS)?
Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is a framework that puts the person at the centre of their support, using evidence-based science to understand why behaviours happen and providing guidance to create capable environments - all with the aim of improving quality of life and reducing behaviours that challenge.
What are behaviours that challenge?
An individual’s behaviour can be defined as ‘challenging’ if it puts them or those around them at risk, or if it leads to a poorer quality of life. It might also impact their ability to join in everyday activities.
Behaviours that challenge are often seen with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autistic individuals, and those with acquired brain injuries and mental health conditions.
How is PBS delivered within Lifeways?
We’re proud to have a Specialist Support Team who deliver our PBS framework, which consists of PBS Practitioners and Specialist Trainers led by Lead Specialists and headed up by the Specialist Support Manager.
The team’s approach is based on Applied Behaviour Analysis strategies that focus on assessing the function of the individual's behaviour and how their environment meets their needs.
Every Lifeways service has access to this valuable resource, who offer both diagnosis-specific training as well as behaviour management training (PROACT-SCIPr-UK® or NAPPI). All of our PBS practitioners have completed, or are in the process of completing, their Level 5 Diploma in PBS.
“The Specialist Support Team works really well as a wrap-around service that is available to everyone who needs it. We work up and down the country supporting staff teams by providing tailor-made training and completing robust assessments in order to understand behaviour.”
Jo Lourmpa, Specialist Support Manager at Lifeways
How does the Lifeways PBS process work?
PBS is available to anyone we support at Lifeways, whether that’s someone who is transitioning into one of our services, or someone we’ve been supporting for a while and has started to display behaviours that challenge.
We understand that behaviours that challenge happen for a reason, and our team of Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners and Trainers have processes to design and implement person-centred strategies to understand and safely reduce the risk of these behaviours while increasing quality of life.
Take Ashley for example. His support team used a person-centred approach to understand what was important to him. For example, they knew he loved cars and so were able to channel his energy into a meaningful activity by introducing him to go-karting.
His support team also tapped into his inquisitive nature by offering him lots of new activities and opportunities. The team found that he loved playing golf, and so this became an integral part of his behaviour support plan. Ashley now uses golf as a self-coping skill technique to manage his feelings.
Our team of Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners manages the PBS framework from start to finish, to ensure the wellbeing of the people we support.
Each individual’s likes, dislikes and goals are taken into consideration - from the assessment stage right the way through to evaluation. It’s important that the people we support live a comfortable and fulfilled life, and it’s key that PBS is integrated into their life in a considerate and responsible way.
1. Functional Assessment
In the initial stages, our Referral & Assessment Team and support teams would complete a PBS referral form for any individual they feel would benefit. The team then begins by collecting information through interviews, assessments and observations of a person’s behaviour to ensure they have a well-rounded view of an individual’s needs - particularly from the person’s perspective. This might include a deeper look into someone’s communication, physical and social needs, and the environment.
2. Behaviour Support Planning
The conclusions from the functional assessment helps to form the basis of the behaviour support plan – a document that covers certain behaviour types in an attempt to understand them and then explain methods and techniques for improving behaviour in an individual.
Using the findings from the functional assessment, our team of Specialist Practitioners can begin to create the plan which adapts to the person’s needs - teaching skills to help a person become more independent and to find ways of coping with situations they find difficult. Perhaps most importantly, an environment which meets the individual’s needs is created. A successful PBS plan contains mostly proactive strategies to drastically improve the individual’s quality of life.
3. Implementing Behaviour Support Plans
Our Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners work alongside staff teams to deliver coaching that is person-focussed and diagnosis-specific, to ensure that they can understand how best to support individuals.
4. Monitoring and Evaluation
Positive Behaviour Support requires regular evaluations to maintain the efficacy of behaviour support plans. Our specialist team leaves practice leaders in the service with coordinated and cohesive ways to monitor and maintain the quality of support.
Finally, we also offer transition support for individuals with complex needs moving into Lifeways services making sure we get it right from the start and support both the person and the staff team at the early stages of building rapport and the right support system.
How can PBS improve the wellbeing of the people Lifeways support?
People like Alison have seen great success from PBS at Lifeways. Alison initially arrived with a Local Authority behaviour support plan and a long list of high-risk behaviours – it was advised that she should only access quiet fields or secluded areas for walks, and should not be allowed to access transport.
The Specialist Support Team visited the service four days after Alison arrived and helped staff to assess and implement a plan. This included a positive behaviour support plan to create a traffic light system which was easier to follow, and introducing risk mitigation strategies to keep both Alison and staff safe.
When Alison first moved in, the staff found it difficult to understand some of her signs and she was very resistant to any demands being placed upon her. However, with consistency and reassurance, within four weeks Alison had taught staff most of her signs, along with learning to use the microwave, make drinks and do her own laundry.
Over the next few months, it was agreed Alison would remain at the service permanently. Alison was able to spend more time out in the community (with visits to coffee shops and supermarkets firm favourites) and incidents reduced in both severity and frequency. Support hours were reduced and Alison continues to shine.
How can Lifeways help?
Here at Lifeways, our team of Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners and Trainers have created processes to ensure that every person we support gets the best care possible.