Health care workers question the use of restraints

APA Online recently reported that health care workers and court employees are questioning the use of restraints when foster kids leave psychiatric treatment centres. Citing their observations that the children are at risk of running away, children and youth may be led by the arms or placed in handcuffs or leg shackles. However, clinicians and judges question the practice, and some expressed concern that it may have a negative psychological impact on a group who is already receiving treatment for mental health problems.

Some hospital employees defend the use of restraints as a protective measure for the children and youth who may put themselves at risk by running away. One program required the signature of a psychiatrist before restraints are used; only a small percentage of patients in the program were seen as requiring them.

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