The use of mechanical restraint on a number of mental health patients in an Irish psychiatric hospital has been criticised in a new inspection report.

Dr Susan Finnerty, inspector of Mental Health Services said in the St Gabriel's ward, St Canice's Hospital, Kilkenny, there were a significant number of deficits in the use of mechanical restraint for enduring risk of harm to self or others.

"There was no identified clinical need for mechanical restraint documented.

"There was no record specifying less restrictive alternatives were unsuitable; clinical files of the two residents did not record that less restrictive alternatives were implemented without success."

Residents were restricted from leaving the centre and the entrance door was locked to ensure the safety of residents who had cognitive impairment.

However, restrictive practice was also imposed on residents who did not have cognitive impairment.

The inspectors also found that not all staff had up-to-date mandatory training in certain areas, and the skill mix was not appropriate to the assessed needs of the residents.

Joanne Purvis, Director of SecuriCare says,”Restraint is an infringement of liberty, and a risk to those upon whom it is used. Its use needs careful planning, and absolute justification otherwise it becomes routine and unquestioned. Furthermore, the right training for staff is essential if staff are going to have the knowledge and skills they require to work safely and compassionately”

SecuriCare offer a range of courses designed to enable individuals to deal with all facets of conflict, aggression and violence. These include ‘personal safety’, ‘conflict management’, ‘dealing with challenging behaviour’ as well as our physical skills ‘Train the Trainers’ pathway

For more information and to discuss your unique needs: E: trainers@securicare.com or T: 01904 492442

To read more see the Irish Independent