Wellness and reablement approaches

Within the context of wellness and reablement approaches, let’s reflect upon the workplace practices that may inadvertently be contributing to aggressive behaviours.

Ultimately the aim of the support an organisation provides is to enhance the overall wellness of the people they support. The support should be person centred which is often easier said than done.

Let’s consider organisations that provide residential services.

Finding it increasingly difficult to manage at home on her own, Judith has recently moved in to a residential aged care facility. Judith appreciates the support she gets but also misses the control she had in her own home.

Staff have a list of tasks that they are to perform and that Judith is to perform on a daily basis for the benefit of Judith. Examples include showering, dressing, feeding, programmed activities and the like. On the list is helping Judith to have a shower. Does Judith actually need to have a shower today especially if she would rather not?
Having a shower today or not having a shower today should not be the focus. Judith’s wellness should be.
(Of course with this example, if Judith refuses to bathe for a prolonged period then it becomes a different issue.)

The well-meaning team of staff supporting Judith haven’t noticed just how often they are insisting that Judith does things that she would rather not do. If staff are insistent several times every day and Judith feels that no one is listening to her polite refusals, would it really be a surprise if Judith becomes aggressive wanting to be heard?

Sometimes organisations provide the support they want to provide and not the support that the individual wants to be provided. Despite the best intentions, efforts to promote reablement may meet resistance from those it is meant to benefit.

Judith tried endlessly in vain to tell carers what she would like. She felt the carers and the organisation did not listen. Judith became frustrated and felt she had lost control. Judith eventually escalated to the use of aggression as a means of communication.

Should we be focusing more on the overall wellness of the person rather than the individual tasks that contribute to overall wellness?
Empower your staff to use their professional judgement to focus on the wellness of the people they support, and not be too focused on the task at hand.
It is important when implementing change that staff are equipped to manage any resistance which might lead to aggressive behaviours.

The shift towards wellness and reablement is to result in happier people. Happier people are less aggressive. Less aggressive people are safer people for everyone to be around.

Stay safe!


Image of Travis Holland presenting

Travis Holland
Managing Director
Holland Thomas
Travis Holland email address

M.A.B. Staff Safety Training. Find out more.

Should you wish to discuss strategies to improve your staff’s safety in their work environment, please feel welcome to contact Holland Thomas.
Our goal at Holland Thomas is to create safer workplaces that enhance wellbeing for all concerned whilst also delivering improved operational and financial performance.

This blog draws on our years of experience delivering our M.A.B.™ Staff Safety Training (Contextualised Prevention and Management of Aggressive Behaviours) across Australia and the development of My Safety Buddy, our smartphone app and web portal based lone worker safety solution.

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