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Staff are being left to make momentous decisions without support
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Collaboration East of England has published a study that highlights a lack of informed resources to help care home staff navigate the issues of restraint during the pandemic.
The researchers found that there was little information available that provided clear, practical information about what staff should do instead of using restraint when urgent action is required. There was also no information or support stating which methods of restraint, if having to resort to it, would be the most effective, least restrictive or more ethically acceptable.
This means care home staff are left on their own to manage in this time of crisis in an incredibly difficult area of practice.
The NHIR said:
There are no simple solutions to resolving the tensions between a person’s human rights and ensuring their safety and well-being. However, guidance and research evidence often stops short of addressing how to implement least restrictive, proportionate restraints or restrictions. This is understandable; no researcher would recommend restraint of older people in long-term care. However, it ignores the fact that care home staff have no research informed resources to help them work through issues of restraint.
We agree with the NHIR that restraint is an under-reported, often hidden area of practice and there is a need for open conversations about restraint use and evidence-based alternatives to take place with different audiences.
Too often ‘generic behaviour management training’ is provided to settings supporting people living with dementia. Maybo has developed programmes especially for these services that focus on reducing distressed and risky behaviours through better understanding needs and adopting safe and respectful working practices. This reduces the need for ‘restraint’ and builds staff confidence in alternatives.