Ukeru making an impact at BayPointe Hospital


(Mobile, Ala.) – Children at BayPointe Hospital can take out their aggression in a healthy way thanks to a program called Ukeru, a restraint-free crisis management technique.

BayPointe has been using the program for three years, and the results show its working.

“We have been able to reduce the number of restraints in our day treatment program by 39 percent this year,” Nicolette Harvey, Assistant Director at BayPointe, said. Harvey says one patient always comes to mind when she thinks about the impact Ukeru has made.

“This child struggled to cope with his aggression. The first day we introduced the Ukeru pad, four employees spent 30 minutes allowing him to take his frustration out on the pads, not himself, his peers, or staff.  In the end, the child was calm and able to return to class.”

The employees at BayPointe have experienced the positive effects of coupling Ukeru with practicing Trauma-Informed Care (TIC). TIC involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma.

Donald McGraw, BayPointe Hospital Milieu manager, says TIC and Ukeru interventions work.

“In our program, we experience many situations where patients threaten to and actively engage in aggressive behavior,” McGraw shared.  “I can recall one situation, in particular, involving a young patient attempting to hurt himself by kicking, punching, and banging his head against walls; he also charged at staff.”

McGraw says using the TIC training and Ukeru pads, BayPointe staff was equipped to protect the patient and allow him to safely cope with his aggression while maintaining his respect, dignity, and positive relationship with hospital employees.

“We used the blocking pads to absorb the blows while protecting the patients’ body from self-harm,” McGraw said. “These crisis resolution tools were helpful on many therapeutic levels. It is all about the positive relationship and strengthening of our staff’s ability to resolve and or eliminate restraint or seclusion.”

BayPointe Hospital is a free-standing children’s psychiatric hospital treating patients 5 to 18 years of age affected by a variety of psychiatric and behavioral disorders. Jarrett Crum, BayPointe Hospital administrator, says it receives referrals for children in need of acute stabilization from all across the state and along the gulf coast region.

“We have enhanced our focus on family engagement, medication management and utilization of community resources to promote longer term recovery for children,” Crum said.   “This past year we also expanded services by adding additional classroom space to accommodate children in need of day treatment for the Saraland, Chickasaw and Satsuma school districts. Ukeru is a program that benefits all of these children, and promotes recovery.”

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