‘Shovrim K’shira’ – The Use of Restraints in Psychiatric Hospitals: A Chronic Violation of Rights

שוברים קשירה

Following hundreds of complaints to Bizchut, and research carried out by our organization, we have exposed data that no-one in the health system wants to admit. According to statistics reported by the Ministry of Health itself, we estimate that one in four patients are tied up and restrained during their psychiatric hospitalization.  Approximately 4,000 people every year. This is a very difficult and worrying statistic that seems to be high in relation to the use of restraints in other developed countries.

Bizchut’s report, published in March 2016, presents a harsh picture: people come to receive treatment expecting to find consolation and empathy but instead find themselves tied up for hours, even for days, and in many cases more than once during a single hospitalization.  In Israel there have been instances of death following the use of this violent and forceful measure and we have received staggering reports of injury and traumatic emotional damage.

The use of restraints is a humiliating act that constitutes a serious violation of a human dignity.  70% of the participants in a survey conducted by Bizchut indicated that they felt humiliated.  More than half told us that they were not allowed to use the bathroom whilst being restrained. Around 25% were forced to soil themselves.

Most people are restrained unnecessarily and in contravention of the current law. Most people are restrained because they are ‘annoying and irritating’. Some are even restrained as a punishment.  Most have not done anything dangerous that could justify something as drastic as the use of restraints.  There are simply not enough staff in hospital wards, not enough patience or awareness of how to deal with challenging situations. The use of restraints is a ‘legitimate’ tool easily available to nurses who have the authority to use them, almost without consultation with doctors.

Many voices from around the world, including the United Nations Council and the World Health Organization have called for and end to the use of restraints because it is inhumane and anachronistic.  In many locations, including the Mental Health Center in Beersheva, the use of restraints has been reduced.  In the USA use has been reduced by 99%!

Bizchut asks the Ministry of Health to stop burying its head in the sand and to initiate a comprehensive national plan, in cooperation with people living with mental health problems, in order to put an end to this outrageous phenomenon.

Bizchut asks that we “Shatter the Restraints” and together find a way to ensure psychiatric hospitalization without restraints.

Read a summary of the report here (English).

Read the full report here (Hebrew).

Read a summary of the report here (Hebrew).

Q and A on the Use of Restraints (Hebrew).