Effective from July 2023
Workflow Owner: Head of Aged Care and Quality
Five Good Friends is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of workers and Members whilst working together. We recognise this is not always easy and at times can be very challenging. This workflow provides workers with guidance to consider when working with challenging behaviours that may arise during service provision. This includes appropriate intervention and management strategies to deal with aggression or violence in the course of their duties.
When interacting with Members or their loved ones, it’s essential for workers to remain aware of their surroundings with the safety of themselves and colleagues foremost in their mind. It is important during interactions that workers consider the following principles:
- Remain alert for signs which may lead to potentially challenging behaviours.
- Identify potentially concerning behaviours and adopt approaches aimed at reducing their likelihood.
- Identify ways to defuse and/or avoid the potential for challenging behaviours.
- Be aware of how your behaviour can either escalate or defuse a situation, including how to control anger and fear, and to stay in control.
- Remain conscious of personal safety to avoid or reduce the likelihood of injury.
- Identify opportunities to exit or end the interaction respectfully if you feel unsafe.
- Face-to-face contact - means communication or contact in person and directly with the person and does not include online or virtual communication or contact.
- Fight, Flight, or Freeze responses - are automatic reactions to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening. The perception of threat activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers an acute stress response that prepares the body to fight, flee or temporarily freeze. In other words, it is what our body does when encountering a threat.
- Non-face-to-face contact - includes online, phone and any other virtual communication
- Physical aggression - is any incident that involves the use of physical force with the intent to harm or frighten a person. It also covers any attempt to inflict physical harm, or a threat or suggestions of intent to inflict physical harm, which was made face-to-face and which the person believed was able and likely to be carried out. This may include:
- Physical assault, such as biting, scratching, hitting, kicking, pushing, grabbing, or throwing objects
- Intentionally coughing or spitting on someone
- Harassment or aggressive behaviour that creates a fear of violence or aggression, such as stalking or non-verbal actions intended to threaten or intimidate
- Sexual harassment - falls under the umbrella of Work-Related Violence or Aggression, or WVA. In the Sexual Harassment and Victimisation Policy, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It is possible that a person who commits an act of sexual harassment may have a cognitive condition, such as Dementia, which can impair their judgement and decision-making. Sexual concerning behaviours include:
- Unwelcome touching or physical contact
- Suggestive comments or jokes
- Sexually offensive pictures or videos
- Unwanted invitations to go on dates or requests for sex
- Sexually explicit emails, text messages or online interactions, such as social media posts
- Verbal harassment - is a type of Work-Related Violence or Aggression, otherwise known as WVA. WVA refers to any incident or behaviour in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work, whether within or outside the place of work. Remember that anger might be a sign that a person is distressed, afraid or frustrated. Verbal concerning behaviours include:
- In-personal insults
- Name-calling or shouting
- Non-physical intimidation
- Harassment through written correspondence such as through text messages or social media
- Worker - employees, Helpers, contractors, Board Director
It is important when working with people that workers do their best to: