Physical restraint used on fewer patients in Capital Region of Denmark

​New figures from the Danish Health Data Authority show that the use of physical restraint in the Capital Region of Denmark continues to fall

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The number of incidents of physical restraint with belts in the Capital Region of Denmark has declined by 53%, and the number of patients placed in physical restraint has been reduced by 322, corresponding to a drop of 45% since the partnership agreement between the regions and the Danish Ministry of Health was entered into in 2014. 

According to the partnership agreement, the regions must halve the use of physical restraint with belts and reduce the use of other coercive measures by 2020, and the most recent figures show that Capital Region of Denmark - Psychiatry is ahead of schedule with regard to achieving this target. 

“We’ve come a long way, and I’m convinced that with all the effort put into this work by our staff and managers, we’ll definitely reach our goal. We’re making good progress in our work to roll out the initiatives that have an effect, so our centres have benefitted from each others’ great efforts, and this can be seen in the figures,” said Anne Hertz, Assistant Director at Capital Region of Denmark - Psychiatry. 

Employees are listening

The Chairman of the Regional Council, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, from the Danish Social Democrats is pleased to note that the Capital Region of Denmark is already leading way and has the lowest percentage of patients placed in physical restraint and the fewest physical restraints lasting more than 48 hours.

“We’re pleased that fewer patients are being placed in physical restraint. I see this as an indication that the staff have become better at listening to the patients’ perspectives and preventing conflicts. We have to be even better at this, so that even fewer patients suffering from a mental illness are exposed to coercion - not just physical restraint using belts, but also other coercive measures,” said Sophie Hæstorp Andersen. 

One coercive measure should not be replaced by another

Physical restraint by belt fixation is the most intrusive coercive measure for patients. However, other forms of restraint, administration of acute sedatives or other forms of coercion are also intrusive. The number of restraint episodes has declined, and the number of patients restrained is stable, while the use of acute sedatives has increased. 

"We are very much aware that one coercive measure should not simply be replaced by another. The aim is to reduce the overall use of coercive measures, and right now, we’re at a stable level when it comes to the use of different coercive measures, but we’re striving to reduce use of restraint and the use of acute sedatives,” said Anne Hertz. 

Capital Region of Denmark - Psychiatry has recently drawn up a new action plan for reducing coercion. The aim of the action plan is to listen to patients’ perspectives even more closely, and to further integrate the recovery approach in preventing the use of coercion. Furthermore, focus is also on how to use restraint in the most appropriate way, both for the individual patient and for the staff.

FACTS ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

- In 2014, Danish Regions entered into a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Health to halve the use of coercive measures in psychiatric institutions by 2020. 

- Every six months, the Danish Health Authority publishes its ‘Monitoring coercive measures in psychiatric institutions report, which gives a status of the regions’ performance in relation to the goals.

- The goals set out in the partnership agreement with regard to reducing the use of coercion are:

  • to halve the percentage of hospitalised patients placed in physical restraint using belts 
  • to halve the number of physical restraints lasting more than 48 hours
  • to reduce the use of straps 
  • to reduce the number and the percentage of patients exposed to one or more coercive measures relative to the baseline (baseline is an average figure for the years 2011-2013). 

For further information or an interview, please contact:

  • Chairman of the Regional Council, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (Social Democrats) through the press office at the Capital Region of Denmark: presse@regionh.dk or +45 70 20 95 88

  • Assistant Director Anne Hertz through the press office at Capital Region of Denmark - Psychiatry: +45 21 67 41 43
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