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De-Escalation and Self-Protection in General Practice

About the event

The shocking news of a Kent based GP who was admitted to hospital after being stabbed in the arm has evoked the ICB and Bromley Training Hub to organise a bespoke training session for all staff in the borough.

Attacks against staff are on the rise in general practice, and healthcare professionals are more frequently encountering challenging situations that require advanced interpersonal skills. Among these, the ability to de-escalate potentially volatile situations and protect oneself from harm is paramount. De-escalation and self-protection are critical components of ensuring a safe and therapeutic atmosphere for both practitioners and patients.

De-escalation involves strategies and techniques aimed at reducing tension and calming aggressive or agitated individuals. This skill is essential for all members of the GP team who are now encountering and increase in volatility from patients than ever before. Effective de-escalation can prevent confrontations from escalating into physical altercations, thereby maintaining a safe environment for medical consultations and treatments.

Self-protection, on the other hand, is becoming a necessary skill for all members of the GP team. It encompasses both physical and psychological measures to safeguard healthcare providers. This includes understanding how to recognise early signs of aggression, employing physical barriers or positioning to minimise risk, and utilising verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to maintain control of the situation.

The integration of de-escalation and self-protection techniques into general practice not only enhances the safety of the healthcare environment but also promotes better patient outcomes. When patients feel heard and respected, even in moments of high stress, the therapeutic relationship is strengthened, facilitating more effective care.

This introduction to de-escalation and self-protection will explore essential strategies, highlight the importance of these skills in general practice, and provide practical tips for healthcare professionals to incorporate into their daily interactions. By prioritising these competencies, GP teams can navigate complex situations with confidence, ensuring a safe and supportive environment for all.

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