Fewer elderly, psychiatric patients tied down

Care institutions are lessening their reliance on tying patients to beds and chairs or drugging them to keep them quiet, according to new figures from long-term care institute Vilans.

News agency ANP reports that the number of patients whose freedom of movement was restricted by care staff fell 30% last year to 1,900. The figures are based on information provided by 40 care homes.
The number of patients tied to their beds by restraints fell from 235 to 83, while the use of calming drugs halved to under 100, Vilans said. Other methods used to restrain patients include putting brakes on wheelchairs and tying patients arms down.
Instead care homes are increasingly turning to electronic surveillance and sensors to keep an eye on difficult patients and have taken steps to improve nurse training, Vilans said.
Last year, a report by the health inspectorate claimed one in three elderly people living in nursing homes or homes for the mentally handicapped are drugged to calm them down.
Inspectors carried out checks on 86 nursing homes after it emerged seven patients had died between June 2007 and May 2008 after being tied to their beds.

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