When I used to manage services, we would often discuss incidents as a staff team and try and understand what we could learn from them. Several times staff would say to me “You could sense something was about to happen”, frequently this may have been a gut feeling and staff couldn’t really articulate what it had been, but they just knew something was about to happen. Even with this feeling, they had not been able to prevent the incident.
See Think Act is an attempt to try and help staff identify what is actually raising signals of a potential incident. It creates a structure and a common language for staff to consider eight different areas, each of which could lead to unnecessary incidents.
For example, have staff noticed that when a particular visitor arrives, the customer always becomes more anxious and prone to aggression? This would be covered in the Visitors section. Or perhaps we know that certain words or labels can cause some customers to quickly become upset. This would be addressed in the Support Planning section.
Where services have fewer incidents, it is usually a good indicator of a good quality service. Part of my current role is to carry out visits to all our services to assess the current quality. I will look at the trends around incidents, including their frequency and severity, as this will often indicate the current status of a service. Incidents can be distressing for staff and customers alike, and sometimes will lead to customer having to leave the service. Wherever we can, we need to keep them to a minimum.
Some of our services work with very chaotic customers, who have lived in many different services and settings and have often been forced to leave services due to breaking various rules. See Think Act can support these customers, by equipping staff with realistic and individual approaches to each customer which specifically target the areas which can lead to incidents. However it also empower our customers to identify what can trigger an incident for them and so work with staff to learn how to reduce or manage these triggers..
None of this is particularly radical. Staff already know this, and are already implementing See Think Act without knowing it. However by fully embedding this approach services are becoming more safe, because they are systematically reflecting on what is happening at the service, and considering potential interventions before incidents happen.
See Think Act has been through several different versions before we arrived at its current format. It has been tested and adapted as staff and customers gave us their views on the guidance and tools. In particular we have made it more straight forward, reduced unnecessary jargon, and made sure that the regular day to day practice is easily adapted to include See Think Act without any additional time required.
The key to success of See Think Act is the communication. It can join all the dots, and suddenly as a team, as you talk together and look at all the different areas, it can all make sense. It improves our knowledge and understanding of our customers and will lead to a better experience for them.
So remember to:
It’s our early warning system, and it makes a huge difference, leading to safer and more effective services for everyone.