The Ethics Behind The Medical Setting

3207 Words13 Pages
The Ethics Behind the Use of Restraints in the Medical Setting
Margaret Correia
Simmons College

Introduction In today’s health care industry, mechanical restraints are often used to maintain patients’ behavior and ensure their safety when treating the elderly and the severely ill (Gatsmans & Milisen, 2006). There are many variations of mechanical restraints, but all are defined as “any device, material or equipment attached to or near a person 's body and which cannot be controlled or easily removed by the person and which deliberately prevents or is deliberately intended to prevent a person 's free body movement to a position of choice and/or a person 's normal access to their body” (Gatsmans & Milisen, 2006, p.
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The purpose of the current paper is to identify the risks and benefits of performing restraints on individuals in the medical field and to assess the benefits and risks to determine whether or not the use of restraints is ethical.
Benefits of Using Mechanical Restraints In the medical setting, mechanical restraints are used for “therapeutic purposes,” in order to “protect a patient from harm” (Moss & La Puma, 1991, p. 22). Restraints are used in order to allow medical staff to provide continuous medical care, protect patients from accidental injury, and protect staff and other patients from harm ((Mion, Minnick, Leipzig, Catrambone & Johnson, 2007; Perkins, Prosser, Riley & Whittington, 2012; Barazovski & Rosin, 1997; Tromp, Pluijm, Smit, Deeg, Bouter & Lips, 2001; Carpenter, Avidan, Wildes, Stark, Fowler & Lo, 2014).
Providing Continuous Medical Care One of the benefits of using mechanical restraints is that they can effectively prevent patients from interfering with medical care. Restraints are used for this purpose in both nursing homes and in intensive care units, and are effective in eliminating instances of accidental removal of medical devices such as
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