Scot Sherrard, LSMS at Dorset County Hospital, said: We have taken a very determined step to, as far as is reasonably practicable, reduce the incidence of physical restraint of our patients and in particular avoid using face-down restraint…

Scot added “This is in line with our ‘patient-centred approach’ and supported by recent recommendations from mental health charity MIND.”

Physical restraint can be deadly!

In July 2013 MIND reported that there had been 13 restraint-related deaths of people detained under the Mental Health Act, eight of which occurred in a single year (2011). MIND also expressed concern at the frequency of use of ‘face-down restraint’ which is recognised as being life-threatening because of the impact it has on the subject’s ability to breathe freely, yet was used across the NHS more than 3,000 times during 2012.

Physical restraint expert, Jim O’Dwyer from training provider AEGIS said: “Ideally, patient care should always be managed in such a way as to completely avoid any need for physical restraint and every instance where restraint proves necessary should be regarded as a failure to have intervened earlier. However, in certain circumstances, for example where a patient’s behaviour presents an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others, the only option available to staff will be to physically restrain them. In such situations, it is crucial that the process is carried out professionally, safely and in a manner which minimises any discomfort and loss of dignity to the patient.”

Paul Andrews, Housekeeping and Portering Manager at Dorset County Hospital, who undertook the training himself, said: “Our Portering and Security team are usually the first responders to calls for assistance from nursing staff and it is vital they have the necessary skills and training. We chose AEGIS because their training programme is endorsed by the National Association for Healthcare Security and we are very pleased with the results. The training will definitely help to minimise the risks. The emphasis was on keeping calm, utilising conflict management techniques and the use of space to talk patients down and defuse situations. The practical skills were amazingly simple and very effective.”