Understanding Complex Needs

Complex needs are just that – complex. 

Typically, complex needs means an Individual has a developmental disability and/or a mental health challenge that requires specialized services and programming. 

Some of the Individuals that Care supports have intensive care needs and serious behavioural challenges.

What could that look like? 

  • Swearing and the use of derogatory language
  • Shouting, screaming, crying. Sometimes screaming for long periods of time 
  • Self-injurious behaviour such as slapping or punching their own face or head
  • Seizures and/or other complicated medical needs
  • Kicking, slapping, punching, shaking, and grabbing staff, housemates or community members with enough force to cause serious injury
  • Substance seeking behaviour
  • Sexualized behaviours such as masturbation or the use of sexual language 
  • Spitting 
  • Pinching 
  • Repetitive behaviours such as asking questions or repeating the same phrase 
  • Destruction of property
  • Hallucinations, hearing voices and/or other symptoms of mental illness 
  • Flipping or throwing furniture or other objects in the room 
  • Chasing or lunging 
  • Removing clothing in inappropriate settings

And those are just some examples.

Why the behaviours?

That is a complex question.

Many of the Individuals Care supports suffered trauma in their lives, some very severe, on-going trauma that one never truly recovers from.

As research has proven, trauma changes the brain.

When you add to that communication and/or language barriers, physical barriers or limitations, developmental delays, medical diagnosis and/or complications etc., it is hard NOT to become upset and scream or want to lash out.

That is where Care comes in.

Care has an in-house Behavioural Supports team that was established approximately two decades ago that has evolved throughout the years to meet the growing needs of the Complex Needs community. 

What they do:

  • Teach coping strategies
  • Work to understand the function or cause of behaviour
  • Develop and coach staff in carrying out programming needs and support through crisis

Care also develops specialized education and training to support its employees that provides a better understanding of the Individual’s needs they are supporting and how to manage those behaviours of concern.

Each Individual has very specific care plans in place that are regularly reviewed to ensure that the proper steps are being taken to identify and replace Behaviours of Concern with Positive, more productive Behaviours. Those plans also include aspects of our organizational Mission.