The 5 Step De-escalation Process

As a healthcare professional, you may find yourself in a situation where a patient is starting to get irritated. Try these steps to properly deescalate the situation and keep everyone safe.

Quality Career Pathways

1. Understand the Signs
Signs of anxiety:
Pacing.
Fidgeting and twitching.
Repeating questions.
Yelling.
Increase in self talk.
No eye contact or covering face.

Signs of frustration:
Talking louder and faster.
Yelling and swearing.
Threatening posture.
Isolation from the group.

2. Think Before You React
Know your own hot buttons.
Imagine a successful intervention where you all “win.”
Ask yourself, “What is the function of the behavior?
Have a coworker try a different approach.

3. Redirect Attention
Bring up a new conversation topic.
Initiate a new or familiar activity.
Redirect to a different room or area.

4. Suggest Activities 
Going for a walk.
Eating.
Talking to family.
Reading a book or listening to music.

5. Focus on Safety
Back off. Give the person space.
Minimize talking. Keep it short and sweet.
Remove vulnerable people.
Identify and remove potential weapons.
Physical restraints should be the last resort and only used when the person is in danger of harming themselves or others.

By using alternative intervention and de-escalation tactics you can prevent a crisis situation and a client or staff injury.

~Information provided by SFM