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J Intellect Disabil. 2005 Jun;9(2):93-107.

The last resort? Staff and client perspectives on physical intervention.

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Calderstones NHS Trust, UK.


This study provides feedback from research with staff and clients of a medium secure learning disability service in north-west England. Participants were asked about incidents which required the use of physical intervention, using unstructured interviews within a participatory research framework. The article explores clients' and staff accounts of aggressive incidents and the consequences of physical intervention. Clients cited other clients and the ward atmosphere as the main reasons for aggressive behaviour. Some clients said that the use of physical intervention made them more frustrated and brought back memories of frightening experiences. Staff reported that incidents of aggression and the use of physical intervention were upsetting and traumatic, causing feelings of guilt and self-reproach. Staff said that they always used physical intervention as a last resort, although clients often reported otherwise. Time out and post-incident discussions were valued by both groups, as were strong staff/client relationships.

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