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Restraint techniques need national accreditation


Almost 100% of voting members at the Royal College of Nursing Congress have backed a resolution calling for national guidelines on restraint of patients.

The resolution called for the RCN to lobby UK governments to “review, accredit and then regulate national guidelines” on physical restraint.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidance on restraint but does no specific which techniques are acceptable. Congress heard as a result there are many different types of training available from a range of providers but the quality varied widely.

Margaret Devlin from the Northern Ireland southern branch said the move to provide more learning disability and mental health services in the community meant these patients often ended up presenting at acute care as “the only way of dealing with them”.

“Training [in restraint] should be offered to all staff,” she said.

Congress heard there was a need for different guidelines for different groups of patients, particularly children.

David Cook, who proposed the motion on behalf of the RCN’s forensic nursing forum, said: “This is a really live issue for lots of people in all sorts of branches of nursing. There can be very, very bad practice.”

The resolution was carried with 99.8% of the 472 voting members in favour.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Not before time. Some knee-jerk reactions to the Winterbourne View scandal have included ill thought-through demands from some quarters for complete bans on physical restraint. This is completely unrealistic. Restraint is sometimes necessary in crisis situations and nurses managing incidents of violence and aggression need the protection of evidence based guidelines, as well as the support of their employers.

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  • So how long before guidelines appear and what happens in the meantime?

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  • the ethics, legality, suitability and regulation in certain circumstances (such as those who suffer confusion in dementia, particularly in the elderly) of tagging and tracking also need to be considered.

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