Physical interventions governance audit identifies value of multi disciplinary overview


The use of physical interventions for people with learning disabilities must be within a locally agreed policy framework and as a last resort. Commissioners of services need to be assured that their use is appropriate and that good quality monitoring is taking place.

The researchers in this study looked at the work of good practice multi-disciplinary panel which is now in operation in east Lancashire. The panel was set up to provide support and governance to service providers involved in physical interventions in the people they support.

The researchers carried out an audit into the experiences of the professionals on that panel, through semi structured interviews with six members. The data were analysed using thematic analysis.
They found four main themes:

  • The impact of the panel on participants’ own work
  • The impact on clients and providers
  • The value of the multi-disciplinary experience
  • The obstacles encountered alongside ideas for future development.

The researchers make some suggestions for the future of such governance arrangements, both in terms of the impact on individuals and in relation to broader service development.

Multi-agency panel members’ experiences of the governance of physical intervention and breakaway techniques, Smith A et al in International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support, 2,  1, 31-38

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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