New database of positive behavioural support interventions aims to plug gaps in evidence base

Positive behavioural support (PBS) is based upon the notion that the key to responding to an individual’s challenging behaviours must lie in an understanding why that individual is exhibiting the behaviour and responding to issues to prevent further episodes.

Functional assessment is the key technique used in understanding the behaviour and what it means to the person. The outcome of the assessment can be used to develop an individualised support plan. The aims of a positive behavioural support plan will be to use positive methods to teach individuals new behaviours to replace those that are restricting their lives and enable them to achieve their own life goals. As it is based on each individual’s requirements, it is seen as a long-term management approach.

However, despite the growing evidence base supporting the effectiveness of positive behavioural support, availability of such support is limited.

The current study aimed to improve the quality of the evidence base and therefore to see the access to PBS improve. The authors set out to establish an ongoing database to be used by clinical practitioners to collate the impacts of PBS interventions and to help address deficits in the literature.

They used a variety of standardised or locally developed measures to track the impact of PBS intervention on behaviour, quality of life and use of restrictive practices in three locations in the UK and Ireland.

They found significant decreases in challenging behaviour in the participants, along with changes in community participation and adaptive behaviours. They also report what they describe as significant reductions in the use of restrictive practices.
The authors commend the P- CPO database as a

practical tool for measuring the effects of PBS interventions.

Assessing the effectiveness of positive behavioural support: The P-CPO Project, Allen D et al., in International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support, 1, 1, 14-23

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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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