13 February 2015

Blog on Tower Hamlets Violence Reduction Collaborative

Andy CBy Andy Cruickshank, Borough Lead Nurse/ Associate Clinical Director Tower Hamlets

On Friday 30 January, we held the first ever learning set for what has been titled the Tower Hamlets Violence Reduction Collaborative. This is a way of creating a community who learn together and from each other, about what they have tried to do to reduce violence on our wards.

It is a bigger problem than many think, or rather, it is one of those big problems that we struggle to think about. For as long as I can remember in my career, violence is seen to be an inherent part of our work. Anger, resentment, fear and illness can combine to make people behave in ways that can transform the climate on wards from being helpful and restorative to being controlling and oppressive. Such climates don’t make for much that feels therapeutic. I think that is a real shame, in its strongest sense. We must be able to do something about this – nobody wants it and everybody worries about it; even if they don’t say this very often.

Violence collaborative

Launching the Tower Hamlets Violence Reduction Collaborative at Trust HQ – 30/01/15

So the lovely folks from the QI team arranged a day for small teams from each ward to come together with some service users, carers and our local liaison officer from the police. The aim was to try and create an atmosphere where such a serious issue could begin to be tackled by approaching it creatively and imagining what we might be able to do to reduce those points of tension, irritation and frustration on our wards.

We have already made great inroads across the Trust in this respect but violence remains all too prevalent – more must be done, I think.

There are the germs of some great plans and strategies that we all hope will yield benefits in not only reducing violence but improving the culture of care on the wards. Getting so many people together and seeing their enthusiasm and energy does make me think that we can make a tremendous and lasting impact. But gently does it. I know not every idea will work in the way it is intended, despite our efforts. The difference about this approach, is that the esteem is in the effort of trying and learning – not just whether something is successful. By modifying and refining our ideas and practices, we can get that bit closer to viewing aggression and violence as unusual, not the norm – or at least not as pervasive as it currently appears.

I really look forward to working with the teams and seeing how this develops. As I understand it, it is the first of its kind but I would hope only the first of many such ventures. I will keep you updated and let you know how the ideas shape up and what comes of them, if they work or not. In the meantime, if you want to know more, drop me a line.

Thanks for reading!

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