No Such Thing as Perfect

Posted June 5, 2020

This post was written by Ukeru Training and Performance Architect, Christopher Feltner

With Ukeru™, what began as an idea to try to keep staff and those we serve safe has led to complete elimination of Seclusion, and close to complete elimination of Restraint use at our home organization, Grafton Integrated Health Network. Not only do we have data of its effectiveness here, but we have had data and correspondence from our customers testifying to the positive impact Ukeru is making for them. Of course, this is frequently shared with new customers, families and on various platforms. Even with all this progress happening, we still hear that Ukeru is missing something: physical restraint.

We have heard of this “missing” element multiple times over the years, spoken in variations: “If you guys taught restraint, then we wouldn’t even need to use our other system.” Or, most recently, “Ukeru is great! We’re seeing a lot of positive results. But, do you know what would make Ukeru perfect: if you taught restraints!” Even when we were seeing incredible results at our parent organization—which serves children and adults—we had staff ask us if we have considered designing a restraint to use.

Why do so many people hold physical restraint in such high regard? Is it the ingredient that would make Ukeru “perfect”?

One question is easier to answer than the other. Would teaching some form of restraint make Ukeru perfect? No. That was easy! Adding something that has caused many documented deaths will not make Ukeru perfect; it would make us liars. One of our goals is to eliminate restraint use. Teaching physical restraint would make no sense and be counteractive to what we promote and are trying to accomplish.

As for the question of why so many people hold physical restraint in such high regard…. Well, that will be a discussion for another blog, as it is more complicated.

Adding physical restraint to Ukeru would not make it perfect. Crisis intervention systems that teach restraint are not perfect. Systems and methods that don’t teach any form of restraint are not perfect. There is no full-proof method for serving people who exhibit aggressive behavior, but there is a proven way that is more effective and more person-centered. If there is a full-proof method, then what skews the results of its effectiveness is that we are not perfect, even when using the best methods. In the end, our goal should be to help all involved thrive.