Thursday, January 3, 2008

Care homes criticised for restraints on residents

John Carvel, social affairs editor The Guardian

Older people are being tied to their beds and drugged with unnecessary sedatives to avoid disturbance in understaffed care homes, government inspectors said yesterday.

The Commission for Social Care inspection said all care homes had to balance residents' humans rights against the occasional need to use restraints to protect individuals from harm. But inspectors found abuses where unjustifiable force was used to make life easier for an overstretched staff.

They visited homes where older people were "cocooned", a form of restraint using converted bed linen, which was passed under the mattress and zipped tightly to the covers to stop residents from getting up. Other homes used straps to tie residents in wheelchairs where they might sit for hours in soiled incontinence pads.

The commission said care workers and families caring for relatives needed clearer guidelines to resolve ethical dilemmas over when it could be acceptable to restrict an older person's freedom of choice. Restraint could never be justified as a substitute for adequate staffing, it added. The commission said it could not estimate how many homes infringed people's human rights by using unjustifiable restraint. But a survey of more than 250 older people and carers found 74% knew someone who had been restrained.

Gary FitzGerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, called for action by regulators and care providers to stamp out intolerable treatment of older people. He said: "Restraint turns care into imprisonment and we should not accept it. If we were talking about the doping of children, we would demand immediate action ... so why is it unacceptable for a seven-year-old, but acceptable for a 70-year-old?"

Paul Cann, policy director of Help the Aged, said although care homes might use restraint it was imperative that the dignity of older people was maintained at all times.

Abridged =>>

1 comment:

Skilled Nursing Moorpark said...

Terrible. Socialization, not medication and restraints, does work. Takes more time,but in the long run staff and residents will be happier.