Recording Risk Behaviours
How many times have you heard the saying ‘if it’s not written down it never happened'?
Those of us who work in services where an occurrence of risk behaviour is likely can often experience an increase in anxiety, whether it is just before, during or after the incident.
Recording an incident
In this blog I want to draw your attention to the complexities of recording an incident, so others will know exactly what happened and better understand the staff response.
Following any incident, we are asked to complete the ‘Incident Form’, this document is usually laid out with questions for the reporter to answer.
One of the first questions asked is 'what happened?' Here, recording the facts is of paramount importance.
For the recorder, their emotional brain tends to tell them that the reader needs to know how they felt about the incident. The fear and anxieties that they may now have about being judged in the next section of the incident form which tends to be 'what actions did you take?'
So that we can clearly explain our actions to the readers and provide that justification we now must 'write it right'.
Use rational brain
To do this effectively we must put our emotional brain to one side and allow our rational brain to do the thinking.
When documenting What Happened, take time to allow your rational brain to help you understand what is being asked. You need to be clear in explaining exactly the risk behaviour that the individual was engaging in so that you now have a clear justification to explain the action you took.
Allow me to give you an example of an incident (where a risk behaviour is presented) in a clear way and the staff member's response.
The person in distress with an open hand, struck the member of staff with force causing them to be moved backwards. The person in distress continued to move towards the staff member with hands raised.
What Actions Did You Take?
Using both hands, the member of staff blocked and moved away. Two members of staff physically intervened using holding skills to manage the risk behaviour. With the risk behaviour subsiding they let go. One member of staff stayed with the person.
With the facts now clearly written, the need for any clarification is lessened. This helps services run more effectively.
The person recording the event has now used their rational brain to present the facts.
Others who were not present are aware of the incident that included a risk behaviour and the actions they and others had taken, which in turn promotes a more positive working environment.
Finally, I believe that how we write it is of a lesser importance than what we write. Stopping and thinking and using our rational brain when completing documentation helps us to ‘write it right’.