Nurses urged to adopt person-centred approach to reduce use of restraints

Independent nurse advisor says use of restraints can result from 'institutionalised practices and ritualistic cultures'

Nurses are being urged to rethink their attitudes to restraining patients and to take a person-centred approach.

Lynne Phair

The annual Restraint Reduction Network Conference in Birmingham yesterday brought together workers from health, social care, policing and education to share research and best practice in minimising the use of restraints across care settings.

Speaking at the conference, independent nurse advisor Lynne Phair said: ‘There’s a feeling generally that "we’ve got to use restraint because that patient is disturbed".

‘We’ve heard examples of knee-jerk reactions from staff jumping up to intervene.

‘It comes down to the institutionalised practices, ritualistic cultures and approaches and not being truly person-centred.'

Ms Phair added that nurses 'intuitively want to do something' but one of the hardest things for a nurse is to realise that 'sometimes the best thing to do is nothing.’

James Ridley, a senior lecturer in learning disabilities nursing at Edge Hill University, told the conference about reducing restrictive practices for people with learning disabilities and dementia.

He said: ‘The key message is to consider the person. Get to know them.

‘There’s a reliance on interventions that tend to be more restrictive, not because people want to restrain individuals but because reactive management is more timely and people are more used to it.

‘It really comes down to lack of skill.’

Mr Ridley urged nurses to focus on person-centred care.

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