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Taking care of challenging behaviour

SA Health recognises that patients, carers, volunteers and staff all want health services in which health care can be both delivered and received without personal threat or risk.

What is challenging behaviour?

Challenging behaviour is any behaviour with the potential to physically or psychologically harm another person, or self, or property.  It can range from verbal abuse through to threats or acts of physical violence.

Further information can be found in the fact sheet (PDF 115KB) on how challenging behaviour commonly presents and the causes of this behaviour.

Where challenging behaviour commonly occurs

Challenging behaviour can occur anywhere, however it more commonly occurs:

  • with patients or consumers who have a particular condition - such as mental illness or substance abuse
  • in emergency, traumatic, stressful or emotional situations - such as child birth or emergency presentations
  • where there is limited access to assistance for workers - such as ambulance services or home visits

What can cause challenging behaviour

Sometime challenging behaviour can occur when:

  • thoughts, feelings emotions physical or mental health status can impact on someone's daily activities
  • feeling that there is an inadequate treatment or management of symptoms such as nausea, pain or anxiety
  • alcohol or drugs have been used.

What SA Health is doing

The SA Health Challenging Behaviour Strategy has examined key issues and identified priorities relevant to the prevention and response to challenging behaviour during health care, so as to minimise the potential harm to staff and harm or self-harm to patients.

SA Health has developed a comprehensive policy framework that includes a Policy Directive, Policy Guideline and Toolkit, which will support health services to focus action on prevention and response to challenging behaviour in a systematic way.

Further information

Further information on challenging behaviour can be found, see below:

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