|Home | About | Donate/Volunteer | Contact | Jobs| Early Schizophrenia Screening Test||
I want to write about a controversial subject and take perhaps a controversial position: specifically regarding the use of physical as opposed to chemical restraints. I refer also to old-fashioned wetpacks, of which I have only heard and read, not experienced, though I have been restrained many times. In brief, I believe that physical restraints are not such a bad thing and are at the very least preferable to the forced drugging of agitated patients called chemical restraint or in the past and perhaps more honestly, a chemical straitjacket. The problem with physically restraining a person is that too often it is done crudely, rudely and for far too lengthy a period of time. My sister once ran a unit where, by contrast, patients were encouraged to ask for restraints when they felt they needed them (which implies some degree of self-awareness), there being neither shame nor coercion involved. Best of all, because this was a voluntary procedure and requested, it rarely lasted for long. I can appreciate this. When I have been so angry or agitated in the hospital that I was afraid I might hurt someone, or if not another person then at least myself, I might have wished that voluntary restraints were an option, rather than the usual recourse of being drugged up. There�s something far less invasive and brain numbing about the simple act of fighting, for a short while, against a known enemy so to speak, and by that I mean the straps or whatever is used as a mechanism of restraint, as opposed to the unbearable cloud of oblivion and inertia that descends after a shot of Thorazine and/or Haldol.
I emphatically do not mean what usually happens: that the goon squad is called in to forcibly grab and pin a patient to a bed until the leather cuffs can be locked on to keep someone from expressing him or herself, that person being kept thus for many hours, mostly because it�s easier on the nursing staff. But I would prefer a physical mode of detaining someone in order to keep them safe, to drugs that leave one drooling or staggering or so sedated they can no longer think. I believe it�s both less destructive and less humiliating, and more dignified and honest to deal with an agitated patient in such a fashion. I have more opinions on this subject but my computer is giving me grief tonight, and my mind is not very nimble after 15 sessions of ECT, from which I am still recovering. So I will leave this for the time being, though I know much more remains to be said.
Here endeth my 17th blog entry.Posted by pamwagg at May 4, 2004 04:06 AM | TrackBack