What You Can Do
Restraints are sometimes necessary, but nurses must apply them only as a last resort. Nurses are obliged to closely monitor the situation and try all other means to maintain safety, including a one-to-one sitter. Family members can be extremely helpful if they have the time and dedication. If you discover that the nurses and doctors have placed your loved one in restraints, ask to review the pertinent policies and procedures, and check to see if the nurses are following them. Never presuppose that everyone is going to do what is required at all times. Reality just does not work that way.
Here is what you can do to assure that the restraints achieve the desired goal without accidental complications:
Ask the nurse to explain the rationale for using the restraints.
Ask for a copy of the written policy and procedure pertaining to the particular restraint being used.
Go over the requirements with the unit charge nurse.
Stay with the patient as much as possible.
Give frequent loving reassurance even if the patient does not appear to understand.
The health-care system cannot keep all patients safe from injurious accidents. New laws and regulations to implement improvements can help, but the only way to immediately ensure a safe hospital stay is for you, the consumer, to take control and safeguard yourself and your loved ones. You can do this as follows:
1. Demand the right to see all the care plans related to safety and accident prevention.
2. Review those plans with the nurses.
3. Take the opportunity to voice approval or recommend alternatives.
The nurses should feel obliged to include the patients and significant others in establishing such plans of care.