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Charity calls for ban of 'face-down restraint'
The charity also says it received very little information on ethnicity and gender, with many trusts saying they did not collect this information. Failure to record ethnicity of patients being physically restrained is worrying, MIND says, given that people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds are "over-represented" in hospitals as detained patients.
What do people who have been physically restrained say?
MIND includes in its report some quotes from people who have experienced or witnessed physical restraint. It says many are taken from interviews it conducted earlier this year, although it does not give details of the patients.
For example: "It was horrific . I had some bad experiences of being restrained face down with my face pushed into a pillow. I can't begin to describe how scary it was, not being able to signal, communicate, breathe or speak."
Another recalled: "It made me feel like a criminal, like I had done something wrong, not that I was just ill and needed to get better."
And another person told MIND: "I've suffered physical abuse when I was younger, and being held down where someone forces their weight on you is triggering for me . it's the last thing that's going to make me conform; I don't want them touching me."
What does MIND recommend?
MIND is calling on the government to urgently ban face-down physical restraint in all healthcare settings and to include its use in the list of "never events" - events that should never occur in a healthcare setting.
It also wants the government to introduce national standards for the use of physical restraint and accredited training for healthcare staff in England. The principles of the training should be "respect-based" and endorsed by people who have experienced physical restraint. MIND has called on NHS England to introduce standard methods of fully recording the details of cases of physical restraint.
The charity also wants staff working in mental health units to commit to working without coercion, to use alternatives and communication skills to build relationships, and to ensure that physical restraint is only ever used as a last resort.
MIND also points out that overcrowded, noisy wards with "limited therapeutic input" can be a trigger for patient distress and challenging behaviour. It says that the aim of inpatient mental health wards should be to provide a safe and therapeutic environment encompassing the patients' needs. Better communication with patients and creating care plans that respond to their needs and identify triggers for distress can all help staff manage crises.
What happens now?
According to a BBC News report, health minister Norman Lamb is "very interested" in "just banning face-down restraint". He has also reportedly ordered a "specific investigation" into the use of face-down restraint in two English trusts: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (where face-down restraint was reportedly used 923 times in 2011-12) and Southampton.
The use of physical restraint in psychiatric hospitals has been widely reported after the publication of a report by the mental health charity MIND on the use of the practice...
Links to Headlines
'Excessive' use of face-down restraint in mental health hospitals. BBC News. June 18 2013
Ministers consider ban on face-down restraint in mental hospitals. The Independent. June 19 2013
Mental health trusts still using dangerous face-down restraint. The Times. June 19 2013
- NHS Choices links
- Find mental health services near you
- Mental health
- Winterbourne View failures lead to care system review
- Reports highlighting use of physical restraint
- Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody
- The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry
- Winterbourne View Hospital: Department of Health review and response
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