How a Behavioral Health Unit Enhanced Its Care

By Erin Harris | Posted on 02.06.2014 | 0 comments
Congratulations to Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – St. Francis! Last week we had the pleasure of celebrating with the hospital’s mental health and addiction care staff, who held an event to showcase all they’re doing to enhance the care they provide.   
Part of their approach to helping people recover from mental health and addiction issues is making sure that they’re trained in trauma-informed, person-centered skills for managing dangerous behavior. Kathy Saltzmann, the unit’s director, and Barb Jones, the unit’s supervisor, are Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Certified Instructors who train their coworkers in CPI’s techniques for handling difficult situations that arise when patients become anxious, fearful, or lose control of their behavior.
Barb, a Senior Level Certified Instructor, has taught CPI programs for six years. When she joined Wheaton two years ago, she brought Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training to her department, sharing with her colleagues CPI’s de-escalation strategies, debriefing protocols, and personal safety techniques. Kathy has been conducting trainings since 2013. Together they offer regular courses that help the staff in their unit empathize with their patients and recognize that all behaviors have a purpose—whether it’s to avoid something, obtain something, for self-protection, or for another reason that’s rooted in individual needs and experience.
As a result of Kathy and Barb’s efforts, staff know how to recognize the warning signs of a potential crisis, prevent agitated behaviors from escalating, block and move away from strikes and grabs, deepen patient freedom while maintaining safety, and reduce the use of restraints for managing behavior. In fact, in October 2013, the department celebrated one year of using no restraints.
The staff incorporate music therapy, art therapy, aromatherapy, occupational therapy, and other positive outlets into their treatment programs. With a supportive approach that’s sensitive to the pain and trauma that their patients are dealing with, staff are seeing great results with keeping themselves and their patients safe so they can all focus on healing.
Need tips for enhancing care and safety in your hospital? Check out “Hospital Safety: 4 Tips for De-Escalating Behaviors.”
Photo left to right: Kathy Saltzmann, CPI’s Susan Keith, Barb Jones.

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