The Ethics of Restraint in Care Homes

Joanne Strain, Gary Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Broadly speaking, restraint is something that is unacceptable in healthcare. This is because, by its very nature, it deprives the patient of their liberty which is a fundamental human right. Furthermore there have been a range of media reports on the detrimental impact of restraint in healthcare practice. However healthcare professionals must also be aware that sometimes, as a last resort, restraint practises may serve to protect some people living with dementia.
The aim of this presentation is to critically examine existing literature on the use of restraint for people living with dementia in care home settings. The review considers the use of physical, psychological, mechanical, technological and chemical restraint. The literature will be framed with reference to human rights, bioethics and person-centred practice through case-studies.
This presentation will provide the audience with three case-study accounts (based on the empirical literature). The case-studies will relate to chemical restraint, technological restraint and mechanical restraint. These cases will be analysed with reference to human rights, bioethics and person-centred practice framework. Importantly, all three cases will present delegates with different dilemmas that may be contradicted depending on one’s interpretation of human rights, bioethics or person centred care. The presentation will conclude by highlighting the importance of rights-based approaches to care, safeguarding and shared decision-making. This will be illuminated by providing consideration to FSHC’s dementia care framework which provides a template when considering restraint for people living with dementia within care homes.
Importantly restraint may be justified in some circumstances in dementia care, usually when a person is putting themselves or others at risk. BUT restraining people living with dementia is usually something we should never do and certainly not without input from a multidisciplinary team of experts, the family and care partners of the individual.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 09 Nov 2017
Event12th UK Dementia Congress 2017 - Doncaster Racecourse, Doncaster, United Kingdom
Duration: 07 Nov 201709 Nov 2017


Conference12th UK Dementia Congress 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Restraint
  • Ethics
  • Human Rights
  • Dignity
  • Care Homes
  • Older People
  • Dementia
  • Review


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