Older people in care homes continue to be subject to various
forms of restraint, according to a report by older people’s
charity Counsel and Care, writes Katie
Using furniture to protect people from falling, locking them in
their rooms, using cot sides or bed rails, restricting social
contact and using drugs to control behaviour, are just some of the
ways in which residents are restrained.
The report claims that some practices “would not be acceptable
in a care setting for any other client group”, but are “fairly
unremarkable” in care homes for older people.
Report author Alison Clarke “Where once we would have been
demonising the Buxton [restraint] chair, that is no longer quite so
“However there is no room for complacency as drugs have become
used more widely for sedating ‘troublesome’ residents.
And electronic tagging has been indiscriminately promoted by some
as an answer to problems arising from residents who wander.”
But National Care Homes Association chief executive Sheila Scott
said she was unaware of the use of electronic tagging, and that
care homes were carrying out doctors’ instructions when
administering drugs. However, she did admit that the use of bed
rails and furniture was a “very serious issue”.
The research highlights developing technologies, such as closed
circuit television, alarms and tagging devices, which have “changed
the landscape of care”. It suggests that while many people feel
uncomfortable about using these in a care setting, some new
technologies can actually reduce the use of direct physical
restraint if used correctly.