The winning team: Alisdair Hastings, Denise Black, June Hastings, Richard Webber
A Ko Awatea training package teaching mental health staff to communicate with and de-escalate people presenting with acute mental illness has won a nation award.
The Safe Practice and Effective Communication (SPEC) training team won the award for the Learning and Development Capability in the Public Sector 2017 New Zealand HR (Human Resources) Awards.
The SPEC training package was developed to improve outcomes for people experiencing acute mental health distress within Counties Manukau Health (CM Health) and is now being delivered nationally across 19 DHBs.
The training was developed in response to a need to embrace the “least restrictive practice” of restraint, as identified by the Health and Disability Services Standards.
The objective was to update and adapt the training to encompass pain-free, standing techniques that would provide a safer, more respectful and less intrusive method of assisting service users who posed an imminent risk to themselves or others.
As a result of SPEC training and a number of other initiatives, the incidence of use of seclusion decreased to fewer than 500 hours per annum by 2012.
In 2014 an external review of the practice of seclusion and restraint was commissioned by Te Pou o Te Whakaaro Nui (a centre which looks at workforce development for mental health, addiction and disability sectors in New Zealand).It determined that CM Health was meeting core standards in its use of SPEC training.
CM Health has since delivered the training to other DHBs.
Professional Development Team Leader Mental Health at CM Health Denise Black says discovering the team been awarded was “incredibly exciting”.
“Being recognised for this work on contributing to the reduction of restraint and seclusion validates the entire team, those who facilitate and develop training as well as the support people around them,” Ms Black says
“It is gratifying that others understand the value of the SPEC training.”
Ko Awatea director Professor Jonathon Gray says he is enormously proud of the team for their efforts to improve outcomes for the people of CM Health.
The awards ceremony was held 23 February at the SKY Convention Centre in Auckland