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Tip of the Week: Implementing the NABITA Standards for BITs (Part XI)

NABITA membership has more than doubled over the last year. To help new members implement the NABITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs), and to provide continuing members with a refresher, NABITA is launching a Tip of the Week series specifically focused on the BIT Standards. Twenty standards, twenty Tips of the Week (maybe more) aimed specifically at the practical application of the BIT Standards (Note: the twenty Tips may not be published consecutively so that NABITA can bring you timely updates regarding other topics).

Standard 12. Interventions: A team clearly defines its actions and interventions for each risk level associated with the objective risk rubric they have in place for their team.

The third phase of the BIT process is determining and implementing interventions. The intervention phase succeeds the analysis and assessment phase, in which BITs assign an appropriate risk level. It is the team’s responsibility to identify the appropriate interventions based on the presented risk(s). An appropriate intervention is directly associated with the assessed risk level and is customized to the individual’s fundamental needs. When the interventions are not responsive to the assessed level of risk and are not tailored to the individual, teams run the risk of either over- or under-reacting, and thus not providing the individual or the community at large with the needed response or intervention for safety and support.

The NABITA Risk Rubric offers a summary of possible interventions. The list of interventions within each risk level should be seen as a toolbelt of interventions. Not every referral will require every tool, but a referral may require more than one tool. BITs must be thoughtful in selecting the most appropriate tool or tools for the specific referral.

Practical tip – One of the most common missteps taken during the intervention phase is failing to solidify connection to the recommended resources. It is not effective to simply provide the student with the recommended resources and say, “Best of luck!” Additionally, tasking the individual of concern with making multiple contacts can be overwhelming. Providing a seamless and integrated referral to recommended resources should be the goal of all BIT members. The five steps of a good referral are:

  1. Discuss the referral with the student and explain what they can expect
  2. Assist the student in securing an appointment either by scheduling it with the student while they are in your office or walking them to the resource
  3. Obtain a Release of Information (ROI), when needed, to ensure that there can be appropriate and timely updates with the referral source
  4. Provide a memo to the referral source because it would be beneficial in establishing a consistent understanding of how the BIT is hoping the referral source can assist the student
  5. Follow-up with the student after the referral (see more below)

Another common misstep is having a lack of follow-up or ongoing connection with the individual of concern (“one and done”). Checking in with your student about the recommended resource(s) is pivotal in determining if the referral was successful or if an adjustment needs to be made. Often, the follow-up with a student will take the form of an in-person meeting, which should be defined and scheduled before the student leaves the first appointment but can also take the form of a phone call, email, or virtual meeting. It is important to collaborate with the student to determine what next steps are “doable” and what is realistic for follow-up. As always, make sure to document all actions taken and updates from the student.

Tim Cason, M.Ed.

Consultant, TNG