Heaton, Samantha and Whitaker, Simon (2012) The attitudes of trained and untrained staff in coping with challenging behaviour in secure and community settings. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 58 (1). pp. 40-47. ISSN 20473869

A postal questionnaire was sent to trained and untrained nursing staff working in both locked and community units catering for people with intellectual disabilities who showed challenging behaviour. It was found that there was no difference in the attitude of staff working in locked as compared to community units; however, trained staff had a more positive attitude to their word than untrained staff.

The aim of this study was to investigate the variance in attitudes of care staff who work with people with a learning disability and display challenging behaviour in community-based homes and those in secure settings. This study also examines restraints used, its effectiveness and how staffs feel using them, as well as investigates how staff feel when dealing with challenging behaviour and the type and prevalence of injuries among staff working in these environments. A total of 71 participants completed a questionnaire investigating their attitudes towards challenging behaviour. The participants were made up of qualified nurses and nursing assistants working with people with intellectual disabilities who displayed challenging behaviour in both community and secure settings. The questionnaire was quantitative in nature and was made up of a range of questions and a Likert scale which measured staff attitudes. The data show that the qualified staff had a significantly more positive attitude towards people with a learning disability who displayed challenging behaviour than nursing assistants. There was no difference in attitude between staff working in community based placements and those in secure environments. This study also found that nursing assistants were more likely to receive injuries as part of their job role with over 70% of the staff having received such injuries. Just over 31% of the total staff had been injured during the past month between 1 and 4 times. A positive attitude towards to the use of restraints was revealed, with 69% feeling that they were useful and 70% saying that they were important for the safety of others. In conclusion, the study highlights the differences between the qualified and nursing assistants, which suggests that a better package of training made available for nursing assistants would be encouraged so that they have a better understanding of this area. Previous research has highlighted that training in this area improves understanding, and it is these staff who are the main caregivers for this population; thus, it is important that they receive the best care available. Challenging behaviour has been shown to be a large part of their job role, so it is paramount that staff are educated to deal with it appropriately.

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