Home 24-7 Painful restraint still used in NZ – Ombudsman

Painful restraint still used in NZ – Ombudsman

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Source: MakeLemonade.nz

Otautahi – Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier says it is unacceptable that restraint methods which can cause pain are still being used to control people with intellectual disabilities at the Mason clinic in Auckland.

The Chief Ombudsman today released a report today of his inspection of the Mason clinic’s pōhutukawa forensic intellectual disability unit in Auckland.

He made 11 recommendations to unit management and Waitematā District Health Board. Eight were accepted and three rejected, including a recommendation to end the use of wrist locks and prone floor restraint.

Mason clinic regional forensic psychiatric services is one of the few in New Zealand to still use these techniques, Boshier says.

The service says the use of wrist locks, which can cause pain, and prone floor restraint, in which the care recipients are restrained with a staff member’s body, are the most effective way of establishing and maintaining a safe environment.

Boshier says he understands some individuals have challenging behaviour but there are other de-escalation techniques and methods available that would reduce the risk of pain for care recipients.

The clinic policy says use of wrist locks and prone restraints will be eliminated by 2020. But they were still being used in April this year.

Other issues identified at the unit include that some care recipients, mostly women, were unable to be accommodated and were sent to other units at the Mason clinic.

Senior management told the Ombudsman female care recipients were routinely placed in other units due to capacity issues, the physical layout of the Pohutukawa unit and lack of gender separation, and the significant risk factors posed by other male care recipients.

As a result, female care recipients were receiving mental health rather than intellectual disability care.

It is inappropriate for care recipients to be placed in other units due to operational and environmental constraints within the service.

New Zealand ratified the United Nations’ optional protocol to the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in 2007.

The protocol requires countries to establish independent national preventive mechanisms to regularly inspect places of detention and report on the treatment and conditions of those held within them.