Talk Down

When patients become agitated, angry and upset, and a crisis arises where it seems likely they might become more violent or harm themselves, it is often possible to talk them to help them calm down. That process is usually called de-escalation or defusion/diffusion. Most staff get some instruction in these skills as part of prevention and management of violence courses, but the coverage is not always thorough or at an advanced level. This is because no one has previously pulled all the different techniques together, or assembled them into a meaningful picture.

A poster summarising basic to advanced de-escalation techniques will be placed in an area frequented by staff, preferably the nursing office, for the duration of the intervention. The ward will decide who is the best at de-escalation among the staff, and this person will be the Talk Down Champion. They will spend about 10-15 minutes with each other member of the team, explaining the poster and what it means, giving examples from their own experience. They will provide each member of staff with a copy of the document on ‘Staying open, friendly and positive’ for them to read. He or she will then invite them to peruse the poster at times over the coming weeks, and invite them to approach her or him at any time if they have any questions.


Can also watch on youtube 40x40

You must download and read the full intervention description before starting the implement this intervention.

Download links to:

pdfFull intervention description of Talk Down
pdfTalk Down poster for printing
pdfDocument on 'Staying open friendly and positive'
pdfExplanation of the Talk Down poster contents for the champion
pdfGuidance for the champion on how to use the poster

Got any questions? Want to share your experience on using this intervention? Have some new ideas or advice on how to do this better? Please click here to see previous feedback or to share your expertise.