Locked up and sedated: Huge rise in number of dementia patients being ‘restrained’ by hospital staff and carers
Dementia patients are increasingly being ‘restrained’ by hospital staff and carers, a report warns.
The number of approvals for staff to use the controversial measures – which include locking sufferers in their rooms or putting them in beds with high railings to restrict their movement – has soared by more than 50 per cent in the past 12 months.
The report, by health watchdog Care Quality Commission, reveals that 4,951 ‘restraining orders’ were granted to hospitals and care homes last year, up from 3,297 in 2009/10.
The orders include locking patients in rooms, fixing seat belt-like devices to chairs or using powerful sedative drugs to prevent them from wandering off and hurting themselves.
Because the measures technically breach patients’ human rights, staff are required by law to get permission from their local authority or NHS trust before taking action.
But the CQC warned many patients were being restrained illegally because hospital and care home staff had not sought approval beforehand.
Its inspectors found one distressed woman at a care home in the West Midlands who had been put in a bed with railings so high she could not reach objects from her bedside table. Staff had not bothered to apply for a restraining order beforehand.
In another care home, staff routinely locked patients in rooms without seeking approval from the local authority.
Doors could also only be opened by a special number code which patients had not been told – and would be unable to remember even if they had.
Inspectors also found that many staff had not been properly trained to apply for these orders, called Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, and did not know when they needed to apply for permission.
Although restraining orders are mainly taken out on dementia sufferers, they are also sometimes used on adults with mental health problems and learning difficulties.
Last year, 52 per cent of applications were for dementia sufferers and 69 per cent were for patients over 65.
Cynthia Bower, chief executive of the CQC, said yesterday: ‘The safeguards are vital to ensure that a person’s best interests are carefully considered, their needs fully understood, their wishes taken into account and their human rights properly respected.
‘The safeguards are no longer new, and care homes and hospitals have had time to train their staff and develop their internal procedures. ‘We expect them to embed this as a routine, but essential, element of their operation.’
Hospital staff must apply to the primary care trust for such orders while care homes must seek authorisation from the local council. It can take less than 24 hours for approval to be granted. Staff can email a brief description of the patient’s circumstances and why they think they need to be restrained. The application is then considered by a team of officials.
Be polite and stand up for your elders or lose free travel, London Mayor Boris Johnson tells young
Teenagers will be told to ‘stand up for their elders’ on public transport – or risk losing their right to free travel. London Mayor Boris Johnson will unveil plans today to make youngsters sign a ‘courtesy pledge’ to promise to behave in a respectful manner when travelling in the capital.
The three-point pledge states that they will give up their seats to the elderly, pregnant and disabled; refrain from using offensive or threatening language; and be courteous and polite to fellow passengers and staff. Those who refuse, or are caught behaving in a loutish manner, will have their free travel passes removed.
The plan – a key part of Mr Johnson’s re-election bid – will initially affect the 400,000 11-to-15-year-olds in London who qualify for free travel cards, but Tory sources believe the idea could be used across the country.
A Conservative insider said: ‘The initiative chimes perfectly with the push to create a Big Society. It is about changing culture and expectations around behaviour to improve the atmosphere on buses and trains for everyone.’
Speaking before today’s launch, Mr Johnson said he was determined to tackle the anti-social behaviour of a ‘minority of youngsters’ on public transport.
‘When I was a boy, I was taught to stand up for those less able to,’ he said. ‘Youngsters enjoy the privilege of free travel, which is paid for by Londoners, but they have to understand that with that privilege comes responsibility. Anyone who abuses this privilege will have it taken away, and will have to earn that right back.’
Teenagers found guilty of a serious breach of the new behaviour code will lose their travel passes, and will have to carry out unpaid community work to have them restored.
Mr Johnson is also introducing a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ policy to deal with repeat offenders, under which those committing a second serious breach of the code will lose their travel rights permanently.
City Hall sources said the plan would cost taxpayers nothing, as the pledge would be incorporated into the existing application process for youngsters’ free travel passes.
The move follows an earlier initiative of Mr Johnson’s that banned the consumption of alcohol on public transport in the capital, which is credited with helping to drive down crime rates on buses and trains.
Critics initially dismissed the ban as a gimmick but, although there is little formal enforcement, peer pressure has helped to battle the problem of anti-social drinking on the city’s transport network. Crime on London buses has been cut by almost a third since the ban was introduced in 2008.
British banks Balk At Toxic Green Loans: Another Sub-Prime Disaster In The Making?
Taxpayers will be asked to contribute to the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War after the Government failed to gain enough private support.
The Times has learnt that ministers want the publicly funded Green Investment Bank to help to fund their own energy-saving programme after banks refused to provide any loans.
A consortium of big energy companies, banks, construction companies and law firms appointed by the Government to find funding for the scheme will meet officials from the Green Investment Bank next week about securing an initial £300 million loan.
Negotiations to finalise the terms have already begun and the funds are expected to be secured in May.
Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, has quietly given his full backing to the plan. The Government had originally been confident that banks and financial institutions would provide the loans, but they have refused owing to concerns that households would not pay them back.
One Whitehall source said: “Senior officials in the energy department have finally admitted that the programme won’t get off the ground without Green Investment Bank funding. Private sector banks simply won’t back the loans when the levels of demand are unclear and there is no track record on repayment defaults. If this £300 million is secured, this will be a lifeline for the programme.“ Under the voluntary programme — called the Green Deal and due to begin in the autumn — householders will be able to take out loans for energy-efficiency measures, such as cavity wall or loft insulation. The intention is that the energy saved will lead to lower bills, which will more than cover the cost of the repayments. If the homeowner moves, the new occupants will pay off the remainder of the loan.
Green drive to cover all Britain’s houses with eight inches of cladding ‘could threaten historic character of some areas’
The face of Britain’s suburbs could be in for a permanent makeover under plans to make our homes more environmentally friendly.
Millions of homeowners will be encouraged to clad the exterior walls of their properties with up to eight inches of insulation in a bid to keep them warmer and cut energy costs.
But heritage campaigners fear the controversial proposals threaten the historic character of many neighbourhoods, if the traditional brick facade and period features of millions of Victorian and Edwardian-era homes are lost.
Under the scheme, an extra layer of insulation would be added to walls, which could then be rendered and painted to resemble the original brickwork or in a colour of the homeowner’s choosing.
As an incentive, those who agree to clad their homes could be offered a reduction in stamp duty or council tax.
Climate change minister Greg Barker is backing the plans as part of the coalition’s Green Deal, which will launch in October.
The £2.5billion fund aims to provide low-interest loans to 14million homeowners so they can undertake home improvements such as double glazing.
To qualify, they will have to show the work will make their property more energy efficient and cut fuel costs.
Mr Barker said cladding Britain’s seven million solid wall properties would create jobs and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He added: ‘We have some of the worst performing buildings in Europe.
‘More than half of our homes don’t have sufficient insulation. They leak heat like a sieve.’
But Chris Wood, of English Heritage, warned that adding external insulation to older homes could destroy their traditional facades. He said: ‘The aim is good but this risks threatening our visual heritage.’
Ian Dungavell, of the Victorian Society, said: ‘Insulation covers up details like window lintels, leaves eaves without overhangs and creates an odd appearance around cornices. It changes all the proportions of the building.’
Memo to Education Scotland: Stop Brainwashing our Children with One-Sided State Propaganda on Climate Change
Quote 1 ‘Children should not be overfed with one particular view of this [‘climate change’]. It is far too complicated for that.’
Quote 2 ‘ …it is brainwashing our children.’
Quote 1 is by Professor Tony Trewavas of Edinburgh University. Quote 2 is by Martin Livermore, of the UK Scientific Alliance. Both quoted in this article in the Scottish Daily Mail on 24th March, 2012
Education Scotland is an agency of the Scottish Government, a government which has produced absurd legislation on climate, and committed to absurd targets on renewable energy, thereby leading the way in sub-scientific foolishness. The facade of scientific justification is easily exposed, but not by children. They tend to trust what the adults tell them, and hence have long been a clearly identified target for eco-propagandising by the zealots who are intent on telling others how to live.
The Royal Societies of Edinburgh and London have failed to defend the wider society from such manipulation and shoddy extrapolation from unconfirmed speculations about the importance of CO2 in the climate system, and so it is all the more refreshing to see a member of the Edinburgh Royal Society taking a more informed, a more independent, and indeed a more civilised approach on climate matters.
This is especially encouraging and important given the recent announcement of a concordat amongst the major political parties in Scotland in support of the preposterous ‘climate change targets’ of the Scottish government.
This announcement has been noted and commented upon at Bishop Hill, where it is deemed ‘somewhat reminiscent of the Soviet Union’.
Paracetamol (Tylenol): The stealthy killer lurking in every home
This can hardly be emphasized enough
Paracetamol is one of the most common painkillers we use — every day thousands of packs are sold in supermarkets and chemists, and it’s our favourite remedy for dealing with a headache.
But should there be tighter controls over its sale, when one of the hidden side-effects can be devastating liver damage?
The family of Desiree Phillips certainly thinks so — the 20-year-old single mum died last August of acute liver failure caused by paracetamol poisoning.
In pain after an operation to remove non-cancerous lumps in her breasts nine days earlier, Desiree was recovering at home, taking ‘a few more’ tablets than the recommended maximum daily dose of eight 500mg tablets, when she was found unconscious and rushed back to hospital.
She underwent a liver transplant but it was not successful.
Paracetamol had built up in her body without anyone noticing — the drug produces a by-product known as NAPQI, which attacks the liver. As it gradually accumulates, it can result in a ‘staggered’ overdose.
Last November, a medical journal published research showing that just a few extra paracetamol daily can be fatal and that a staggered overdose is much more likely to be fatal than a deliberate one. Doctors say that when the danger levels of toxicity are reached, many patients show no symptoms for 24 hours, by which time it may be too late.
The Government is rightly concerned about the effect of binge drinking on our livers — hence David Cameron’s campaign to introduce minimum pricing of alcohol — but overdosing on paracetamol, not booze, is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the UK.
Yet still the National Health Service say there’s no cause for concern. Millions of us use the drug with no side-effects. But when you are in chronic pain — the elderly with aching joints or a workaholic suffering from repetitive headaches — more and more of us think: ‘To hell with the stated daily dose, I’ll just take a couple more.’
I’ve written before about the dangers of addiction to over-the-counter drugs such as Nurofen Plus, but paracetamol is available in so many combinations, as well as a hot drink, it’s easy to see how someone could unwittingly be building up toxic levels in their system.
There are no checks when you buy a packet of paracetamol, unlike codeine. That needs to end. All painkillers should be carefully controlled — because we have become a nation of massive pill-poppers. An ageing population is being handed huge amounts of prescription drugs to deal with arthritis and spinal degeneration. These drugs are often supplemented with over-the-counter preparations which no one is monitoring.
The number of people addicted to non-prescription painkillers is soaring and still the Government doesn’t intervene. Now, there’s a new danger — 39,000 packs of co-codamol, containing paracetamol and codeine, which are three times stronger than the dose stated on the packet, have gone on sale by mistake.
A spokesman for the UK medicines regulator said: ‘If you feel you have taken the wrong strength tablet, and in the unlikely event you feel unwell, speak to your GP.’ That sounds pretty complacent to me.
Finally, I tried an experiment. I stopped taking two paracetamol for a headache a year ago. One 500mg pill works perfectly. So why are manufacturers still telling us to take two, four times a day?
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up — on his usual vastly “incorrect” themes of race, genes, IQ etc.