We are often asked about situations when children or adult service users bite or spit at staff. It is often seen as a minor, but unpleasant, part of dealing with a bigger episode of challenging behaviour and staff are unsure how to respond.
This lack of knowledge puts staff and service users at risk of injury and contamination. An immediate response is to take steps to avoid it happening again as quickly as possible. As with all good intentions, when non specialist staff start designing their own methodologies, significant risks can arise.
Two cases I have recently been consulted on as an Expert Witness have involved partial obstruction of the mouth. My advice to you is clear:
* NEVER OBSTRUCT THE AIRWAY as this can cause respiratory failure and life changing injury or death.
* NEVER ACCEPT THE WORD OF AN UNQUALIFIED PERSON, such as the parent, concerning what DIY process you should use.
Neither option will stand up in court if things go wrong. You have the duty of care to the service user and staff.
To find out more about this aspect of managing challenging behaviour please watch our seven minute briefing HERE concerning the risks and options to consider.
Biting and spitting are issues that need to be managed with guidance from the therapeutic, medical and use of force arenas. Total Train can assist you with this process.