Making Daily Strides with UKERU

By Sara Porcaro | January 29, 2019

The goals we set today mean a better, brighter tomorrow--and, of course, plenty of celebration! This January marks a completion of two incredible goals: 100% Adult Services training, and all incoming Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) at New Employee Orientation (NEO) being trained solely in Grafton Health Inc.'s UKERU program for crisis management. This gives Direct Support Professionals the training necessary to create a safe, understanding place for individuals to work through challenging moments--and eliminates traditional restraints.

Already, the program has been a great asset, and the use of it has risen throughout the rest of 2018. From 2012, where certain traditional procedures like prone restraints were used, to 2018, where UKERU practices that support an environmental focus on compassion and understanding have risen, the trajectory is clear: Perspectives professionals are moving away from crisis management tools of the past and are looking forward to a future of UKERU.

"Our Deaf and Hard of Hearing programs were the first to be 100% UKERU-based," says Senior Director Christine Hathaway. "Other homes began implementation in October."

Better yet, the DCYF has also given provisional approval to use the program within Perspectives Youth and Family Services--another great step towards continuing the positive reach of the program. Two professionals working within Perspectives Adult Residential Services, DSP Mentor Gerard (Jay) Jarry and DSP Kalie Chabot, have seen great success with UKERU, and wholeheartedly support its use.

Kalie notes, "I started with this method, and I love it. And if you have a good team, it works really well with everyone together; we take turns with the pads and support each other. It takes the stress out of the situation."

"I was very happy to learn the UKERU method," says Jay. "We had blocking pads before, but it wasn't the same. Now, instead of trying to get individuals to stop right away, we encourage them to hit the pad and get all their frustration out. It makes these moments a lot shorter because they don't see it as a negative thing or a punishment anymore when the pads come out."

This attitude shift is monumental for DSPs and individuals we support alike. Because the pads are no longer seen as negative on either side of the situation, it not only makes it easier for individuals to feel safe, but it also allows free expression and time for reflection--something that restraints don't afford. Jay had seen firsthand the effects of such a practice, where individuals calm down much quicker, and are able to open up to DSPs after about their behavior: a compassionate, understanding dialogue.

"Before, some of my peers who hadn't tried it yet were worried it might not work as well, but it's been awesome," says Kalie. "It really does work for everyone, and it's made [crisis management] so much easier on a day-to-day basis."

On the program, Jay is clear: "Don't be afraid [of UKERU]," he says. "You'll do it twice and love it. It's a great program."

The goals we made in 2018 are coming to fruition--and the results are certainly worth the celebration! With a crisis management system that doesn't rely on restraints, but instead encourages communication, emotional expression, and safe outlets, everyone--from DSPs to the individuals we support--are thriving. Here's to UKERU's continued success in 2019!