Restraint: A tool of humanising care?

Fintan Sheerin (crop)As part of our series previewing the keynote speeches and presentations from the forthcoming Restraint Reduction Conference, Fintan Sheerin, Lecturer in Intellectual Disability Nursing at Trinity College, Dublin, introduces the main themes of his presentation examining the day-to-day human rights of people with disabilities and those who display challenging behaviours.

Restraint has been in the toolbox of custodians and carers throughout the centuries, enabling them to control those whose behaviour was deemed to be of risk to their health and safety or that of others. Whilst it has enabled those who have provided service, it is highly questionable whether or not it has led to any enablement of the people who were subjected to the restraint.

It is accepted that restraint has sometimes been used to protect people from harm and to provide controlled responses in an often uncontrolled situation, but that ‘therapeutic’ usage cannot, I would argue, be considered outside the context of a service provision which has been rooted in oppression, exclusion and rights violation.

In my presentation, I will explore some of these issues and paint a fuller background to restraint, questioning its usage and suggesting that a solidary, humanised, approach to people with behaviours which challenge may be a better way forward.

Fintan will be delivering his keynote speech on the afternoon of Friday 13 November.