Since 2007 eitas has promoted the development of gentle cultures by providing Gentle Teaching training, mentoring and consultation. For the first 6 years, until his passing, we were honored to be taught by the founder of Gentle Teaching himself, Dr. John McGee. Individuals, family members and provider agencies throughout Missouri as well as several surrounding states have taken advantage of this opportunity to learn how to create a sense of community, companionship and connectedness with their family member or persons supported.
The initial focus in this initiative was to teach all of us how to create encounters that centered on helping marginalized people feel safe with caregivers, other people served and eventually the greater community. The broader goal has been that every person will not only feel safe and loved by others but also become loving and actively engaged in community life.
Administrators who make the commitment to creating a gentle culture within their organization are faced with a series of system challenges. One of the first is how to balance the desire to “administer supports from the heart as well as from the bottom line.” Obviously, there are many duties and functions that take up the time of administrators such as fund raising, legislation, public relations, Board of Directors, politics, lawsuits. These responsibilities are important, but when they become less critical than creating a stable work force and ensuring that the people supported have the capacity to feel safe and loved and move to full participation in their own lives, a gentle culture will be realized.
Because “outcomes” are also important to administrators you may be asking: What are the outcomes of having a gentle culture? Other than the direct benefit to the people supported there are many practical outcomes that relate to the bottom line such as cost savings and sustaining a stable workforce. All of which are worth tracking. Outcomes that have been documented by organizations with gentle cultures include: decreases in staff injuries and worker compensations claims; decreases in property destruction and insurance cost savings; decreases in event reporting; decreases in injuries to persons supported; decreases in use of psychotropic medications; decreases in agency citations; decreases in violence; increases in pro-social interactions; increases in personnel morale and motivation; increases in staff longevity; increases in satisfaction of persons supported, family and guardians.
If you or your organization are interested in experiencing the many great outcomes of gentle cultures, I invite you to become part of the eitas Gentle Teaching Community. Training information is listed on the website; and additional information is available from the Agency Relations staff with contact information also listed on the website.