The desire to protect the vulnerable and to ensure distressed ill people are treated humanely and above all safely has motivated all of us working in - or with - the care and support sector to do more.
The Department of Health’s report into the scandal of abuse at Winterbourne View and its recent update - Transforming care one year on - demonstrates this resolve. Within its pages a promise was made to review existing guidance on the use of restraint, seclusion and other restrictive practices.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has agreed to carry out a consultation on our behalf into the use of physical restraint across a wide range of health, adult social care settings and special schools. It presents a unique opportunity for service users, their families, staff and other interested stakeholders to respond to the consultation and help shape our final guidance, which will be published in March.
A broad team of experts will explore the use – and misuse – of physical restraint and other means of control.
It is already accepted that physical restraint should be used only as a last resort after all efforts to calm and reason with a person have failed. And where human force, straps, hand cuffs and other means of restraint are deployed, they must be done so by highly trained staff with the acute understanding this must be for the shortest possible duration.
One intended benefit of this consultation is to raise the standard and prevalence of appropriate training in the system. Health and care staff, wherever they work (in hospitals, A&E departments, ambulances, care homes and people’s own homes), should be able to perform physical interventions with minimal risk to the person involved. To this end, the Department’s partner organisations, Skills for Care and Skills for Health are to explore what more can be done in this area. More broadly, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) is also developing quality standards on managing violence and aggression.
We urge you to contribute to this consultation and help protect the dignity and safety of vulnerable children and adults wherever they are in the care and support system.