“Uke” comes from the Japanese word Ukeru meaning to receive. Ukeru is a revolutionary crisis management technique developed at Grafton that has received national and international recognition. Essentially, Ukeru is about receiving, engaging, sensing, feeling and responding to what someone is trying to communicate to us through their actions while maintaining the safety of all those involved.


In 2004, Jim Gaynor, Grafton’s CEO set a directive that guided our work—Minimize the use of restraint and seclusion without compromising client or employee safety. Grafton committed to not only reduce the use of restraint and seclusion, but also to replace these procedures with alternatives that promoted a safe, comforting and secure environment for clients and employees. A revolutionary technique, known as “Ukeru” was developed within the organization. Ukeru was Grafton’s first alternative solution and it involves the use of soft, cushiony materials to protect oneself from aggressive behaviors and the use of protective equipment such as gloves, shin guards and umpire shields to protect clients and employees.

Training on Ukeru was provided across the organization and soon a philosophical shift from an environment of control to one of comfort and support took place within Grafton. Ukeru began to receive national and international attention. In February 2008, Grafton won the Negley President’s award for excellence in risk management practices. The Grafton model has also been presented at international conferences including the 10th annual International Research and Institute of Learning Disability conference in Dublin, Ireland and a conference sponsored by the Office of the Senior Practitioner and National Disability Service in Victoria, Australia.

Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognized Grafton’s clinical best practices in restraint and seclusion reduction in an Issue Brief entitled, “Promoting Alternative to the Use of Seclusion and Restraint, published in March 2010. http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA11-4632/SMA11-4632.pdf

For more information on training and consultation services available, please visit www.ukerusystems.com.

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