Worrying rise in the use of restrictive interventions during COVID-19 pandemic

    June 2020 saw 3,860 instances of restraint

      • Sector News
    • 17.09.20

    Mencap, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) and the Restraint Reduction Network (RRN) have expressed their concern at the latest NHS Digital figures, which report shocking levels of restrictive interventions being used against people during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    There were 3,860 recorded instances of restrictive interventions, like physical, prone, mechanical and chemical restraint, being used in June 2020, of which 620 were against children.

    The organisations say the numbers are likely just to be the “tip of the iceberg” as the data is only for 2 out of 14 private/independent providers and 30 out of 58 NHS providers.

    Latest NHS Digital figures also show that 2,100 people with a learning disability and/or autism are currently locked away in inpatient units. The average total length of stay in inpatient units is also 5.6 years.

    NHS Digital: Latest NHS Digital Figures 

    Mencap: Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation warn that COVID-19 is causing even more delays to people with a learning disability and/or autism getting out of modern-day asylums

    Mencap: Shocking levels of physical restraint, over-medication and solitary confinement used during lockdown as more people locked up in modern day asylums

    RRN: COVID-19 Restraint Increase in Inpatient Settings “…really, really worrying”

    Maybo perspective

    There may be times when restrictive interventions are necessary, proportionate and genuinely in a person's best interests. We share concerns however, that such interventions continue to be used unnecessarily and excessively by some services and carers who could avoid these through better understanding the people they support and meeting their needs.

    Maybo training starts with an understanding of human rights and recognising restrictive practices (it is surprising how many staff don’t have a full understanding). We then develop practical skills for building positive relationships and reducing and managing behaviours of concern.

    Training is important but we need to remember that 'culture eats policy and training for breakfast', so clear leadership and active supervision is essential. Greater focus on supervisory skills and accountability is needed to deliver and maintain healthy cultures.

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