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Patients chemically sedated

A nurse has told the Royal Commission into Aged Care, there is no excuse for chemically sedating people and it is often done only because of a lack of staff, ABC News reports.

A panel of three nurses and a diversional therapist gave evidence to the commission, saying their roles were plagued by understaffing and that regularly had to do unpaid overtime.

In answer to a question from counsel assisting Paul Bolster about why chemical restraints were used, registered nurse Elizabeth* said it ultimately came down to not having enough staff.

“It’s really confronting and unsavoury to physically restrain people and I can’t think of a time where it should be happening at all,” she said.

“Rather than give proper care you sedate people so they’re not annoying you and it’s not acceptable.”

Maggie Bain, a diversional therapist, said she had seen daily instances of residents being physically restrained.

The nurses spoke of shifts where they were run off their feet and doing unpaid overtime — sometimes on a daily basis.

“I was working in an aged care facility where we’d work half an hour unpaid overtime every day and that was so we could have the handover,” Elizabeth said.

“We would be doing up to four hours overtime a day just trying to manage the care for people.

“This is when you’re doing one [nurse] to 60 [patients] and you’ve got people with high needs — so people that are dying for example.”

A number of the nurses voiced their support for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.

FULL STORY

Lack of staff behind chemical sedation of patients in aged care facilities, royal commission hears (ABC News)

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