West Lake Terrace working to minimize restraints

Home aims to reduce numbers by 50%

Continuous quality improvement is important to caregivers at West Lake Terrace, and this focus is helping the Prince Edward County long-term care home in its mission to reduce restraints.

Administrator Neil Peterson notes the home is trying to reduce the number of residents who have restraints by 50 per cent. In the last quarter, the team’s efforts paid off. Four residents — comprising 8.5 per cent of the 47-bed home’s resident population — are now restraint-free.

The idea is to keep this momentum going every quarter.

One key factor to this success has been constant assessment, Peterson says.

“We found after evaluating them that they weren’t as inclined to get up and (put themselves in a situation) where they would fall,” he says of the four residents, who were using wheelchair lap belts. “Once they were assessed to be at low risk, the restraints were removed.”

Most often, when a resident’s wheelchair is equipped with a lap belt, it’s at their family’s insistence. Families sometimes want their loved ones to be fitted with a restraint because they believe it keeps them safe from falling. However, these devices can also put people at risk of agitation which can lead to serious injury.

Peterson says the home’s staff members educate families on an ongoing basis that restraints can carry risk and have a possible negative impact on quality of life.

Psychotropic medications are considered “chemical restraints,” and reducing their administration is also top of mind at West Lake Terrace, Peterson says.

He notes that West Lake Terrace is working with the home’s doctor to try to reduce the number of residents receiving these medications. Side effects from psychotropic drugs can cause a person to fall.

“Once someone is stabilized in our environment, we start assessing whether or not that type of restraint is still necessary, and we do that on a quarterly basis,” Peterson says. “As a result of (the doctor’s) buy-in, we’ve been able to get some reductions happening.

“I believe in this next quarter we’ll be able to see a 10 per cent drop in (psychotropic medication administration).”

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