Legal implications of restrictive physical interventions in people with dementia
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Legal implications of restrictive physical interventions in people with dementia

Louisa Jackman Associate lecturer, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Charlotte Emmett Senior law lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Tom Sharp Assistant psychologist, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne
Joanna Marshall Principal clinical psychologist, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, County Durham

Using a case study, Louisa Jackman and colleagues examine the rights and responsibilities of staff in care homes

Dementia care environments are now home to thousands of people who have complex mental and physical health needs. Many of these people have lost capacity or have fluctuating capacity to make decisions about their care. There can be times when restrictive physical interventions are necessary to protect a person’s wellbeing and to administer required treatment and care. However, nurses working in care settings may not be aware of their rights and liabilities, and those of care staff, when such interventions are used for therapeutic purposes.

This article seeks to address areas of uncertainty and clarify the legal responsibilities of care teams by exploring the issues raised through a fictitious case vignette.


Nursing Older People. 26, 10,24-29. doi: 10.7748/nop.26.10.24.e632

Received: 15 August 2014

Accepted: 30 September 2014

Published in print: 28 November 2014

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict Of Interest

None declared