Use of Restraints on Dementia Patients: An Ethical Dilemma of a Nursing Staff in Israel
JONA's Healthcare Law, Ethics, and Regulation 2003 December; 5(4): 87-93
This quality improvement project investigates the ethical dilemmas faced by nursing staff (ie, registered nurses, practical nurses, and nurse aids) using restraints for dementia patients in "realistic" and "idealistic" situations. RATIONALE: There is a need to offer adequate care for a growing number of patients suffering from dementia and to ensure their safety. Restraints are a common practice for this purpose; however, they may inflict harm and contradict patient rights of freedom, autonomy, and respect. The issue becomes more complex in view of the multiple studies showing that the various justifications for using restraints are often based on caregiver interests and institutional considerations rather than on the patient's benefit. DESIGN: The project was conducted on a sample of 200 Israeli nursing staff members, half from internal medicine wards of 3 hospitals and the other half from 3 psychogeriatric nursing homes, all treating dementia patients. The project used a questionnaire composed of demographic data and an ethical preference questionnaire built on 18 situations concerning restraints. Situations were categorized into 3 purposes: (a) patient's benefit, (b) other patients' benefit, and (c) institutional benefit. These situations referred to realistic (ie, expressing views of daily practice) and idealistic (ie, expressing personal and professional beliefs and values) situations. RESULTS: The project exposes a discrepancy between the manner in which the nursing staff perceive use of restraints in an idealistic situation and in a realistic situation and the greater tendency to use restraints in the realistic situation than in the idealistic situation. The main contribution of the project is in revealing the conflict between the personal beliefs of the nursing staff and the nurses' perceptions of their institutional obligations. CONCLUSIONS: The project uncovered a discrepancy among the beliefs, the personal and professional values of the nursing staff, and their perception regarding the actual use of restraints in the daily work routine.
Aids; Autonomy; Dementia; Freedom; Harm; Hospitals; Internal Medicine; Institutional Obligations; Medicine; Nurses; Nursing Homes; Patients; Rights; Suffering; Values; Involuntary Civil Commitment; Research on Mentally Disabled Persons; Research on Elderly and Terminally Ill Persons; Philosophy of Nursing; Health Care Programs for the Aged;
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Weiner, Chava; Tabak, Nili; Bergman, Rebecca (2003-09)This study reviews the ethical dilemmas of nursing staff about using restraints on patients suffering from dementia in two types of health care settings in Israel: internal medicine wards of three general hospitals; and ...