Ontario Shores Adopts Safewards Model

Beginning in September of 2015, the Forensics program at Ontario Shores embarked on a journey to implement Safewards within its six Forensic inpatient units. Most recently, the Safewards implementation has also expanded beyond the Forensics program to include the three inpatient units within Ontario Shores’ Assessment and Reintegration Program (ARP).

Safewards is a model of care delivery that has been designed to make psychiatric units more peaceful places by increasing safety and reducing coercion. Safewards and its 10 interventions look to develop positive relationships between patients and staff, and focus time on engagement as opposed to containment. The Safewards model identifies where conflict and containment are generated and where staff and patients can look to reduce them.

In implementing Safewards, the purpose is to create a safer environment for patients and staff, with the ultimate goal to continue to advance a Recovery-oriented clinical environment.

The implementation of Safewards at Ontario Shores has been approached with a co-creation and co-design model of delivery, where the clinicians and patients work together to design and implement the interventions on the units. To date, ninety-two point-of-care clinicians have been trained as Safewards Champions. These champions then support the implementation of Safewards on their respective units.

To implement Safewards the following ten interventions are created by the clinical teams and patients and implemented on the units:

  1.  Clear mutual expectations
  2. Soft words
  3. Talk down
  4. Positive words
  5. Bad news mitigation
  6. Know each other
  7. Mutual help meeting
  8. Calm down methods
  9. Reassurance
  10. Discharge messages

Initial feedback from the clinicians that have attended the training included that “co-creation is a positive way to both have your voice heard and have collaboration” and that co-creation is “necessary to improve the likelihood of successful implementation as it provides patients with increased confidence that they are in an inclusive environment”. A patient from one of the Safewards units noted that, “it’s been really great and I really enjoy the mutual help meetings”.

We look forward to sharing more about Safewards and the interventions within Ontario Shores as they are implemented on the units in the coming months!