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Environmental Interventions: Our Proactive Approach

Posted Feb 02, 2021

There’s no doubt that our surroundings have a major impact on our overall well being. This is especially true for many of Entrust’s clients who are sensitive to—and sometimes triggered by—specific elements in their environment.

For this reason, our team takes a proactive approach to environmental interventions within our residences. Our proactive approach begins at client intake. We start by talking with the client’s family to understand the client’s triggers and potential behaviours. From there we determine what environmental modifications we can make to best support our client and reduce environmental triggers that may cause stress or anxiety. 

What is environmental intervention?

In a nutshell, environmental intervention means modifying our residences in ways that will reduce environmental triggers that cause behaviours in our clients, and that will help keep our clients safe and reduce property damage if they do exhibit behaviours.

Environmental intervention is important for our clients

Our main goal with environmental intervention is to meet our clients’ needs and help them feel more comfortable in their surroundings. This, in turn, will help reduce their stress or anxiety levels and will help them feel happier and more secure at home. All in all, environmental intervention helps improve the quality of our clients’ lives.

Our unique approach to environmental intervention

We assess each client at intake, gathering information from family, behaviour specialists, service managers, doctors and other stakeholders. Based on this information, we make specific changes to the client’s space. 

We also take a less restrictive approach to environmental interventions than many other residences. Our team is great at being flexible, thinking outside the box and collaborating with all stakeholders to come up with effective interventions that improve the client’s wellbeing.

We had a client who liked to put things down the vents in his room. So, rather than trying to restrict his behaviour, our maintenance team installed a fake vent in his wall that emptied into a basket in the room below. This way, he could continue with his behaviour without causing damage to the vent or losing items down a vent.

Another example where we were able to be creative with environmental interventions was with a client who liked to throw stones at his neighbour’s house. Our maintenance team set up a corrugated steel throwing area in the garage for him. This way, our client got to continue the behaviour he enjoyed without damaging the neighbour’s property.

Common home modifications we implement

With environmental interventions, we aim to proactively reduce triggers for our clients, and to keep both our clients and property safe. Here are some modifications you will likely find in our residences:

  • Dimmer switches to help with light sensitivity
  • Lights installed out of reach of clients
  • Steel doors to reduce damage
  • MDF to reduce damage and prevent injury
  • Vinyl plank flooring to withstand moisture and for easy cleaning
  • Plastic protectors on TVs and computers
  • Polycarbonate windows to reduce damage and prevent injury
  • Velcro curtains
  • Vinyl decals or posters covered in plexiglass to decorate walls
  • Chalk walls 
  • Trampolines (indoor and outdoor)
  • Swings (indoor and outdoor)

What’s the result?

By implementing these kinds of environmental interventions proactively, we are taking smaller variables of concern out of the picture (like triggers for potentially harmful behaviours) so our clients and staff can focus on their larger goals. 

Our clients need to feel comfortable and safe in our residences—their homes. Environmental interventions allow us to take a creative and non-restrictive approach in supporting our clients’ health and wellbeing.