rd_small1In this section you will find an overview of the contents of the guidance developed by NHS Protect and the Expert Group as part of the ‘Meeting needs and reducing distress’ project. The full guidance document can be accessed here.

Purpose of the guidance

The guidance provides practical strategies to help staff working in NHS healthcare services to do the following:

  • Identify, assess, prevent and manage challenging behaviour
  • Improve the quality of care given to individuals by minimising their distress
  • Ensure that care is delivered within a safe environment for staff and all service users.

These aims can be achieved by:

  • Improving the assessment, diagnosis and management of people who may become distressed (in order to prevent challenging behaviour)
  • Improving staff understanding of how challenging behaviour relates to specific clinical conditions and unmet needs
  • Outlining the approach, skills and attitudes that minimise distress
  • Emphasising key messages to staff – for example, the importance of maintaining dignity in care and seeing the ‘whole person’ rather than just the condition or illness
  • Providing practical strategies to risk assess and manage challenging behaviour
  • Providing guidance to managers on giving staff appropriate training and making resources available to prevent and manage challenging behaviour.

Scope of the guidance

This guidance aims to improve the safety and experience of:

  • All patients and service users
  • All staff who deliver or contribute to treatment, care and aftercare
  • Carers and family members.

How should this guidance be used?

The guidance is designed to be generic and applies to any healthcare setting. It can be read as a whole, or each section can be taken as stand-alone. Staff should identify which sections are most applicable to them, depending on their role and related responsibilities. For example, certain sections are of particular relevance to senior managers and those with responsibility for resource planning and ensuring standards of care.

Click on the links below to see which information may be most relevant for you:



Security professionals

Patients and carers