This topic covers the use of restraint and restrictive practices in health and social care settings, including the legal background to the use of restraint, and the appropriate and inappropriate use of restraint and practices that limit service users’ freedoms.

There have been several high-profile cases of the inappropriate and abusive use of restraint over the years. Health and social care managers must therefore be careful to ensure that if restraint is used in their service it is used legally and according to best practice.

Guidance on avoiding the use of restraint was published by the Department of Health and Social Care in 2014. Positive and Proactive Care: Reducing the Need for Restrictive Interventions states that all services where restrictive interventions may be used should have programmes in place to reduce the use of restraint.

This subject is probably more applicable to care homes, but it can apply in domiciliary care and supported living situations, where there should be a similar understanding of the issues and corresponding policies and procedures.

This topic should be read and used with reference to the topics on Safeguarding, Violence and Aggression Towards Staff, Mental Capacity and Human Rights and Deprivation of Liberty.

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