Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Your Truth: Chemical vs. Physical Restraints

Another hypothetical scenario for your consideration...

This patient is an 86 y.o. female with dementia who is actively dying. She has become delirius, but still has the strength to get out of bed and is at a high risk for falling and injuring herself from the fall. In addition, she has a intravenous (IV) line that is being used for pain medicine that she keeps trying to pull out. The doctor has suggested the use of sedating medications to keep her from pulling out her line and from falling. But the family states they would like to keep her alert and thus they refuse the medications offered. Instead, the family prefers that wrist restraints are applied, tying the patient to the bed rails to prevent falls and to prevent the IV from being pulled out. NOTE: Both types of restraints are avoided while the family is visiting, but the family leaves to sleep at night.

1. What education could be offered to the family to ensure they are fully informed of the options to ensuring this patient's safety?

2. What other options might be considered beyond pharmacological or physical restraints?

3. What are your own feelings about chemical verses physical restraints and how might these feelings impact your attitude towards this family's decisions?