30 Jun Supporting an older woman strapped into her wheelchair against her wishes
This is the latest in a series of blogs illustrating how the use of our basic human rights can make a real difference to the quality of life for individuals.
During her afternoon ward round at a London hospital, a consultant came across an older woman, Mrs. Jones, who was crying out in distress. Mrs. Jones was in a wheelchair and when the consultant looked more closely, she discovered that she had been strapped in, and this was the reason for her distress. The consultant asked staff why the woman was being restrained in this way. They explained that they had strapped her into the wheelchair to stop her walking around, because they were worried she might fall over and hurt herself. The consultant told staff that while their concerns were understandable, strapping Mrs. Jones into a wheelchair for long periods was not an appropriate response, because her human rights, and in particular her right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3) had not been taken into account. Staff quickly agreed to unstrap Mrs. Jones and, after she was assessed by a physiotherapist, they were encouraged to actively support her to improve her mobility.
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