Staff at a Winnipeg personal care home are using people skills rather than medication to diffuse outbursts.

More than 200 staff at Actionmarguerite were trained in a new Canadian method called the ‘gentle persuasive approach’ to help residents with advanced dementia when they are upset.

The training involved everyone from office staff to housekeepers to the CEO.

According to a release, it helps staff better react to advanced dementia patients who, as a result of their condition, are prone to verbal or physical outbursts.

Sometimes health care workers will sedate patients or use physical restraints when it seems like the worker’s or patient’s safety is at risk, but the gentle persuasive approach training helps calm residents down without those things.

Charles Gagne is the CEO of Actionmarguerite. He said the key to the approach is understanding a resident’s behaviour is not their fault and may be in response to the actions of a staff member.

“It's really teaching us on how to deal with people who have acute dementia behaviours who may sometime display behaviours that, if we're not tooled on how to deal with it or how we caused some of those behaviours, we're not really successful,” he said.

Gagne said the training has already helped and he’s seen less of a reliance on physical restraints and medication.

Actionmarguerite provides care and services for the elderly and people with complex health needs at five locations.

Gagne said staff at all five locations will eventually receive the gentle persuasive approach training.