When providing support to a person there may betimes when touch will be involved. In cases where the person supported requires assistance with bathing, assistance in the bathroom and even assistance with eating touch may be necessary. It is always important that, no matter what your assistance may look like, that the person feels safe and in control of the situation. This is always more important than the task at hand.
Follow these 6 Body Integrity Steps to make the person supported feel safe and in control:
1. Explain the task - provide an overall explanation of the task ahead. This will give the person supported an idea of what is coming.
2. Ask permission - Always. By doing this you will teach the person supported to ALWAYS expect the DSP to ask permission before assisting them. Then when a DSP doesn't not ask for permission the person supported will recognize that as unusual. Given the proper supports, this will teach the person to TAKE THEIR PRIVACY BACK!
3. Wait for a response - When asking for permission it is so important that the person supported knows that if they respond with an answer of "No" it will be honored. As a DSP we must be prepared for the "No" response when asking a "Yes" or "No" question. In these situations wait a few minutes and reapproach the person supported. For example, if the objective is to assist the person supported in the shower maybe we can rephrase our ask to something like "Would you like me to help you get all cleaned up?" Ultimately the will of the person is what should always prevail. If this continues contact your supervisor.
4. If "yes" is the answer then proceed - The person has given you consent to move forward. Thank them and reinforce the consent they just granted.
5. Explain - As you go through each step of whatever task you are assisting the person with make sure to explain what it is you are doing in that moment. Always start from a point that the person being assisted understands everything you are saying. You will gain a better understanding from asking questions and experience of how they receive information.
6. Fade assistance - When assisting a person with a task or teaching a skill the ultimate goal is to help this person gain as much independence as possible. Over a period of time the DSP should attempt to use less assistance when helping the person complete the task or activity.
+This information and much more can be learned by taking our Take a Stand - Speak Up! : Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Prevention