Reviewed by Michael McKeon Nursing Lecturer Dublin City University


This short handbook of 41 pages is a code of practice produced by the British Institute of Learning Disability in response to an identified need to establish consistency of training in the use of physical intervention for people with learning disabilities, autism and pupils with special education needs. For the reader experienced in challenging behaviour, the code is easy to read and understand, while the no-so-experienced person should read the code in conjunction with another BILD publication Physical intervention: A policy framework.

The code of practice was developed in England and Scotland using a wide consultation process that allows its use to be very relevant in an Irish setting. The code of practice provides guidelines on current best practice for physical interventions training. It will assist service providers in the management of training programmes in any service setting and the code is a cornerstone for those responsible for the delivery of this specific training in the use of physical interventions in learning disability field.

The code is organised under eight main headings:

  • Policies
  • Best-interest criteria
  • Techniques for physical intervention
  • Health and safety
  • Course organisation
  • Monitoring performance
  • Evaluation and record keeping
  • Professional conduct.

The code will provide parents, individual advocates, and advocacy groups with a quick and easy way to understand the principles in the use of physical intervention. For parents or carers in difficult and distressing circumstances the code identifies clear standards and procedures that should be necessary in good service provision.

Around fifty per cent of people with learning disabilities have challenging behaviour and may be subject to physical restraint, while the inappropriate use of physical restraint increases the risk of injury to service users, care staff or parents. This code of practice provides a solid step in developing a framework of good practice in the use of physical intervention with people with learning disabilities, autism and children with special educational needs. All Irish service providers should check their standard procedures in order to allow for clear expectations and standards for programmes and trainers dealing with the use of physical interventions.

BILD CODE OF PRACTICE FOR TRAINERS IN THE USE OF PHYSICAL INTERVENTIONS (2001). BILD Publications, Plymbridge Distributors, Plymbridge House, Estober Road, Plymouth PL6 7PZ. Stg£8.00 plus 40p p&p. ISBN 1 902519 78 7, paperback.