Thursday 17 March 2011

Britain is no country for old men with dementia in care homes and hospitals

The Daily Mail newspaper as part of its 'Dignity for the Elderly Campaign' reported :
Locked up and sedated: Dementia patients are denied basic rights, says damning report.

Under a law introduced in 2009, hospital or care home staff who think a patient needs to be restrained to themselves from coming to harm must apply for a 'Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard Order' from councils or health trusts.

The report, made by the 'Care and Quality Commission' which is the independent 'Regulator of Health and Social Care in England', found :

* staff, routinely flouting official guidelines and depriving confused residents of their basic human rights in the belief that it is in their best interests.

* hospitals and care homes breaking the law by ‘restraining’ the elderly without authority, 'locking them in rooms' overnight, 'sedating' them or even 'binding them to beds and chairs'.

* nurses and care home staff often resorting to such measures to prevent patients coming to harm through falls and other injuries, when, by law, they must apply for permission.

* 'too many examples of people using services who were being cared for in ways that potentially amounted to an unlawful deprivation of their liberty, and therefore a potential breach of their human rights.’

* that last year 7,160 applications for restraint were made, but only half were approved with the majority for patients suffering from dementia. Those rejected were often on the basis that officials believed the restraint was unnecessary and patients could be looked after in less draconian ways.

* many staff didn't know they needed to apply for restraining orders and were probably going ahead and illegally depriving patients of their rights.

David Congdon of the Charity 'Mencap' said:

"This report highlights a lack of awareness of liberty safeguards amongst care staff and a patchy implementation of this law across England. This suggests that vulnerable people are still at risk of having their human rights undermined.’

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