By definition, Restrictive Practice means any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person.
When we talk about restraint in Aged Care, we typically think of residents being strapped down to their seats or over medicating.
But, Aged Care Ready Coordinator and Associate Director, Naomi believes restrictive practices are so much more than the obvious.
“Removing a residents walking frame away from reach so that they can’t get up to walk, placing obstructions against doorways so that a resident can’t get through, or placing a resident in a deep recliner chair are also examples,” Ms Anderson says.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care interim report shares real-life examples that have been submitted, and states that these instances or examples are not isolated. But rather, it reports that these instances are part of a widespread practice affecting the care of many older Australian’s.
Furthermore, the report outlines that the prevalence of restraint is very poorly documented meaning that there is a lack of empirical data.
“Although this is a practice that most people think should’ve been abolished a long time ago, walking through and touring facilities and seeing it for ourselves, it’s evident that it is still very much happening,” Naomi Anderson says.
“The Royal Commission states that the practices not only violate the fundamental rights of older Australians, but also has a serious impact on the physical and psychological health of our residents.”
Facilities reasoning behind these restraints usually stem from a behaviour management point of view.
“Residents with dementia can become agitated or aggressive so these restraints are used to keep the residents and their co-residents ‘safe’,” warns Naomi Anderson.
However, The Royal Commission states that “A recent study into the nature and extent of physical restraint-related deaths in residential aged care facilities affirmed the view that individuals can still experience falls even when restrained to prevent them. The research evidence also suggests that physical restraints are not effective in preventing serious injury which may occur because of aggressive behaviour. In many cases, the agitation, discomfort and anxiety of the person is only increased.”
“As part of our process when taking facility tours on behalf of our clients, we look closely at the residents who are already admitted in the facility,” says Ms Anderson.
She answers questions like the following:
- Do they look drowsy?
- What furniture are they sitting in?
- Are their mobility aids within reach?
She also looks at the environment around them.
- Is there any obstructions to doorways/hallways?
- Are the residents free to move around the facility?
Moving loved ones into Aged Care is an emotional and delicate decision. Have Aged Care Ready on YOUR SIDE.
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