Responding to a Crisis - Fact Sheet
Despite the best Positive Behaviour Support
Plans, there can be incidents that get out of hand and pose
dangers. These are situations were someone may be at an immediate
As behaviour starts to escalate, continue to work at
understanding the triggers and purpose of behaviour. You may still
be able to prevent a crisis with:
- a calm even tone of voice and reassurance
- active listening and expressing empathy
- simple, clear directions of what is required.
Tone of voice is very important. Many of us will start to
subconsciously speak in a higher pitch even if we are trying to
defuse a situation. Deliberately speaking quietly in a normal tone
can make a big difference, despite all that adrenalin flooding our
Try to identify the message behind the behaviour too; you might
be able to avert a crisis if you can find the trigger and deal with
it directly. A Positive Behaviour Support Plan should include how
to respond to each possible crisis situation.Typical strategies
during the escalation phase include:
- Promoting coping skills
- Breathing exercises
- Redirection (distraction)
- Stimulus change
- 'Help me' requests
- Introducing humour (this can be a difficult technique and
should only be used by a familiar person)
- Exiting the troubling environment.
When a crisis develops, your personal safety takes priority over
everything else. You should have a crisis management plan which
- when to disengage from an escalating situation
- making sure your exits are always unobstructed
- prior removal of any items that could be used as a weapon
- a list of back-ups and supports to contact.
After everything has settled down, you may need to debrief. Talk
the situation over with a family member, counsellor or your local
Brain Injury Association. Carers can quickly burn out when they are
unable to deal with the stress that slowly builds up after each
crisis if they don't have any support.
Where crises are a regular occurrence, it pays to get
professional support. Contact your local Brain Injury Association
for services in your State.
SELF-CARE FOR CARERS
You need to look after yourself to last the distance! Remember
these key points:
- Make sure you get time for family, hobbies, socialising and
- Make the most of respite care
- Don't be afraid to assert yourself in getting the support you
- Beware of the superhero attitude as burnout is the usual
- Work hard to maintain friendships
- Make time for exercise and a good diet.
Contact your Commonwealth Carer Resource Centre on 1800 242 636.
All carers can use the services provided by the Carers Association
in each State or Territory.