If you work in the behavioral health field, each day you're likely to encounter individuals who are dealing with some sort of mental health crisis. While very few individuals pose a clear danger to themselves or others, it isn't wise to disregard the risk that some individuals may dangerous. Failing to appreciate this risk and to take steps to protect yourself and other staff members could have tragic consequences. Read on to learn about some of the best practices your organization may want to implement to ensure client, employee, and guest safety.
Have a Straight-Ford and Clearly Communicated Plan
A risk management plan is only as effective as its reach, even if it is unassailable. If your employees aren't aware of the plan or the procedures it puts forth, it won't do you much good. If you don't currently have a risk management plan, you'll want to get input from those who will be affected by it and those who will be tasked with enforcing it. If you do have a risk management plan, now is the time to ensure that all your employees are familiar with this plan and are complying with its directives. You'll want to schedule refreshers once a year or so and ensure that all new employees are trained in your risk management protocol before they begin work.
Develop Scripted Responses for Some Common Scenarios
Some risks are more common than others. For example, your facility may sometimes encounter patients in mental distress who have recently threatened suicide or disgruntled family members who are upset with the treatment their loved one received.
While you don't need a plan of action for every possible scenario, developing scripted responses to the situations that tend to occur at least once a year can give you a good starting point toward managing the risk of these encounters. You'll then feel more empowered to tweak these responses as needed to deal with more unusual situations.
Focus on Risk Factors in the Intake Process
Often, assessing a specific patient's likelihood of triggering your risk management plan is best done at the initial intake session. This can mean delving deeper into questions surrounding the patient's family history, prior threats of suicide or suicidal thoughts, and other sensitive topics. Cultivating a rapport with your patients instead of merely checking off boxes on a list can go a long way toward ensuring the patient feels "heard" and reducing their risk of engaging in certain antisocial behaviors.
For more information about behavioral health risk management, speak with companies like Texas Applications Specialists, Inc.