Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is a vital approach within modern Social Care of caring for and supporting individuals with Learning/Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, as well as those with mental health conditions who have, or may be at risk of, developing behaviours that challenge. Read on to learn more about what Positive Behaviour Support is, how your organisation can go about implementing a Positive Behaviour Support approach within your services, and how it can improve the quality of care that your supported individuals receive.

What is Positive Behaviour Support?

Positive Behaviour Support, while defined by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England as ““a person centred framework for providing long-term support to people with a learning disability, and/or autism, including those with mental health conditions, who have, or may be at risk of developing, behaviours that challenge”, is a term that is difficult to define without further exploring the various elements that combine to encompass it.

The fundamental step in effectively implementing Positive Behaviour Support is gaining insight into the needs of the supported individual. This involves a thorough assessment and understanding of both the physical and social environments in which the individual is situated.

This comprehensive understanding encompasses the thoughts and emotions of the supported person, as well as those of individuals in their immediate environment (referred to as the circle of support), such as friends, family members, and care staff. Once a thorough comprehension of all involved parties and the surrounding environment is achieved, supportive measures can be developed to enhance the quality of life for the supported individual, as well as the lives of those close to them.

The effective implementation of Positive Behavioural Support relies upon a foundation of core values that foster inclusion, encompassing but not limited to elements such as choice, participation, and equality of opportunity.

An essential objective aligned with Positive Behavioural Support is the enhancement of the supported individual’s skills. By adopting a PBS approach, the aim is for the supported person to experience and achieve a sense of independence, being both assisted and encouraged with the necessary supports to progress towards a more fulfilled and independent life.

A person wearing a white shirt and pink shorts stands in the middle of the picture, while their hands are being held either side. There is a crowd of people ahead of them.
Developing an understanding of the supported person’s Circle of Support is key to implementing a Positive Behaviour Approach successfully!

The Key Elements of a Positive Behaviour Support Approach

In order to successfully implement a Positive Behaviour Support approach that is effective as a Care Provider, there are a number of key components and principles underpinning PBS that must be appreciated in order to do so. They are as follows:

  • Person-Centred Approach: PBS is individualised and focuses on the unique needs, preferences, and strengths of the person experiencing the challenges. It considers the person’s goals and desires.
  • Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA): This is a systematic process used to understand the purpose or function of behaviours that challenge. Identifying the underlying cause helps in developing effective intervention strategies.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Emphasis is placed on reinforcing positive behaviours rather than punishing behaviours that challenge. Rewards and positive consequences are used to encourage positive behaviours.
  • Proactive Strategies: PBS involves implementing strategies and interventions proactively to prevent behaviours that challenge from occurring. This can include modifying the environment, providing clear expectations, and teaching alternative skills.
  • Collaboration: Positive Behaviour Support is often a team effort involving collaboration between the individual, their family, caregivers, teachers, and other support professionals. Working together enhances the effectiveness of the intervention.
  • Teaching Replacement Behaviours: Instead of simply focusing on eliminating undesirable behaviours, PBS aims to teach individuals alternative, more appropriate behaviours to meet their needs and replace the function of the behaviour that challenged.
  • Data Collection and Monitoring: Monitoring and collecting data on behaviours are essential components of PBS. This helps in evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and making necessary adjustments.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: PBS recognises and respects cultural differences. Strategies are adapted to be culturally appropriate and sensitive to individual and family values.

The PBS approach is widely used in a variety of settings, including schools, homes, and community-based services, to create supportive environments and enhance the overall well-being of individuals with behaviours that challenge.

How and Why is Positive Behaviour Support Beneficial Within Social Care?

In summary, Positive Behaviour Support is beneficial because it shifts the focus from punitive to positive reinforcement, is individualised, prevents behaviours that challenge, involves collaboration, is research-based, promotes dignity, encourages skill development, has long-term effectiveness, reduces the use of restrictive measures, and is applicable across different settings. 

A well-constructed Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) plan is grounded in the findings of a functional assessment. This plan encompasses a variety of tailored PBS strategies that go beyond addressing behaviours that challenge, incorporating methods to guarantee the individual’s access to meaningful elements in their life. These strategies are categorized as proactive and reactive.

Proactive strategies aim to ensure the individual’s daily needs and desires are met, incorporating approaches to teach appropriate communication and life skills. 

On the other hand, reactive strategies are crafted to safeguard the individual and those in their vicinity from harm. These strategies offer a means to establish safe, prompt, and effective control in situations where the person is distressed, anxious, or exhibiting behaviours that challenge.

A well-crafted PBS plan prioritises proactive strategies over reactive ones. This emphasis is crucial to ensure that the plan not only focuses on mitigating behaviours that challenge but also facilitates the person’s pursuit of a fulfilling life. It enables them to acquire new skills and more effective ways of attaining their needs and desires. The plan recognises the significance of fostering warm and positive relationships, valuing the individual’s sense of being cared for and liked, which is equally as vital as engaging in enjoyable activities.

Through collecting data and then analysing the patterns contained within that data, including what happens before the behaviour, during the behaviour, after the behaviour, the intensity of the behaviour, the regularity with which the behaviour occurs, and how long it lasts, carers and staff can develop a greater understanding of the behaviours that challenge exhibited by an individual. Thus, monitoring and collecting data on behaviours are essential components of PBS. This helps in evaluating the effectiveness of interventions and making necessary adjustments. (more information on PBS is available here)

The word "positive" is spelled out by wooden blocks, and these blocks are spread out on top of a bottom of layer of blank wooden square blocks.
A Positive Behaviour Support approach is all about creating a positive impact in the supported individual’s life. Rather than being risk-averse, a PBS calls for the individual to challenge themselves, all in the pursuit of living a better, more fulfilled and independent life.

Implementing Positive Behaviour Support as a Social Care Provider

As a caregiver, there are several key steps you can take to contribute to the successful implementation of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) for the individual you are caring for. Here are some actions you can consider:

  • Collaborate in the Development of the PBS Plan: Work closely with the PBS team, including professionals, family members, and the individual, to contribute to the development of the PBS plan. Share your knowledge about the person’s strengths, likes, dislikes, and any successful strategies you’ve used in the past.
  • Participate in the Assessment Process: Engage actively in the functional behaviour assessment (FBA) process. Provide insights into the individual’s routines, preferences, triggers, and any patterns related to behaviours that challenge. Your observations and input are valuable in understanding the context.
  • Understand and Promote Person-Centred Planning: Embrace the principles of person-centred planning. Ensure that the PBS plan is tailored to the individual’s unique needs, preferences, and goals. Advocate for the inclusion of the individual’s voice and choices in the planning process.
  • Consistent Implementation of Strategies: Implement the PBS strategies consistently across different settings and with different caregivers. Consistency is crucial in reinforcing positive behaviours and promoting predictability for the individual.
  • Provide Support for Skill Development: Actively support the individual in learning and practicing new skills outlined in the PBS plan. Reinforce positive behaviours with praise and rewards, and encourage the use of alternative, adaptive behaviours.
  • Effective Communication with the PBS Team: Maintain open and effective communication with the PBS team. Share any changes or developments in the individual’s life that might impact their behaviour. Regularly review and update the PBS plan as needed.
  • Foster Positive Relationships: Cultivate positive and supportive relationships with the individual. Create an environment where they feel cared for and understood. Positive relationships contribute significantly to the success of PBS interventions.
  • Advocate for Resources and Training: Advocate for the resources and training needed to effectively implement PBS. This may include access to training programs, educational materials, and ongoing support from professionals experienced in Positive Behaviour Support.
  • Monitor and Document Progress: Keep track of the individual’s progress by monitoring and documenting behaviours. Provide feedback to the PBS team regarding the effectiveness of strategies and any adjustments that may be necessary.
  • Encourage Community Involvement: Foster the individual’s participation in community activities and social interactions. Engaging with the community can provide additional opportunities for skill development and positive reinforcement.
  • Stay Informed and Educated: Stay informed about best practices in Positive Behaviour Support. Attend relevant workshops or training sessions to enhance your understanding of PBS principles and strategies.
  • Cultivate a Positive and Supportive Environment: Create a positive and supportive environment at home or in the caregiving setting. A nurturing atmosphere contributes to the success of PBS by promoting overall well-being. By actively participating in the assessment and planning process, consistently implementing strategies, fostering positive relationships, and advocating for resources, you play a vital role in making Positive Behaviour Support a reality for the individual you are caring for. Your commitment and collaboration contribute significantly to the success of PBS interventions.
Wooden square blocks with letters printed on their face spell out the word "implement". These blocks are spread out across a number of blank square block pieces, all of which is set against an orange backdrop.
Implementing a successful PBS approach and plan involves carrying out a variety of measures and steps. Be sure to take your time when working towards implementation, as a rushed approach will likely lead to lower quality care for the Service User!

How iplanit Enables Care Providers to Implement Positive Behaviour Support

The iplanit system for electronic care planning and management has the capability to bolster the implementation of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) practices. The Aspirico iplanit team comprises PBS trainers and practitioners with a collective wealth of Social Care experience exceeding 70 years. (to learn more about Aspirico, click here!)

Electronic care planning systems can support Positive Behaviour Support in the following ways:

  • Individualised Planning: iplanit provides a platform for creating and maintaining individualised care plans. These plans can be tailored to incorporate PBS strategies based on the unique needs, preferences, and goals of the individual.
  • Collaborative Communication: iplanit provides the ability for communication and collaboration among caregivers, support staff, and other stakeholders involved in the individual’s care. This ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding PBS goals and strategies.
  • Real-Time Data Collection: iplanit allows for real-time data collection on the individual’s behaviours, progress, and responses to interventions. This data can be valuable in assessing the effectiveness of PBS strategies and making informed adjustments.
  • Goal Tracking: iplanit could support the tracking of PBS goals and outcomes. This feature helps caregivers monitor the individual’s progress and celebrate achievements, reinforcing positive behaviours.
  • Documenting PBS Strategies: iplanit provides a centralised location for documenting and accessing information about specific PBS strategies. This ensures that all relevant details, including proactive and reactive strategies, are readily available to the care team.
  • Customisable Templates: iplanit offers customisable templates for creating PBS plans. This feature allows care teams to adapt plans to the specific needs and preferences of everyone supported, ensuring a person-centered approach.
  • Reporting and Analysis: With the aid of iplanit’s reporting tools, caregivers can use these tools to analyse trends, identify patterns in behaviour, and assess the overall effectiveness of PBS interventions.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Caregivers can have on-the-go access to important information about PBS plans, progress, and any updates related to the individual’s care.

As the world of Social Care continues to change and develop over time, so too does iplanit. Certain features of our iplanit Care Management and Planning software may vary, and new additions and features to iplanit’s suite of capabilities may be added over time as part of our commitment to the iplanit development roadmap.

Learn more about iplanit and Positive Behaviour Support

Positive Behaviour Support is a crucial component in contemporary Social Care, and its significance for both caregivers, staff and, most importantly, the individuals that you support, cannot be overstated. If you’re interested in discovering how iplanit can assist your organization in integrating Positive Behaviour Support throughout your services, schedule an iplanit demonstration using the form below today!

If you have any questions about iplanit, Positive Behaviour Support, or anything else related to Social Care, send us an email – enquiry@aspirico.com !