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Safety alert issued to safeguard patients who have been restrained

Alert highlights the importance of taking, recording and responding to vital signs when a patient is restrained

Health professionals helping patients who are a risk to themselves and others have been issued with guidance on restraint.

NHS England has issued a patient safety alert to highlight the importance of taking, recording and responding to vital signs where restraint has been used to manage a person’s behaviour.

The alert says healthcare professionals should follow existing guidance on positive interventions to reduce the risk of self-harm, violence and aggression in healthcare settings, and restrictive interventions should only be used as the last resort.

The risk of death from restraint is highlighted but the alert also stresses that harm can occur in the period directly after restraint from the effect of illicit substances, alcohol, prescribed medications and co-existing medical conditions.

Restrictive interventions can cause psychological and physical harm. Existing guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence provides advice on a range of factors that must be considered to minimise the risk of harm to the patient during and after a period of manual restraint. This includes advice on checking vital signs after manual restraint and very specific advice on the nature, frequency and duration of vital signs checks that should be taken after rapid tranquillisation.

To read the full patient safety alert click here 

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