Town nurse blasts use of handcuffs on dementia patients

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A MORPETH nurse has criticised the use of handcuffs for restraining dementia patients after seeing the effect it had on her husband.

Mum-of-three Alison Davison had already suffered the anguish of seeing her husband Glenn developing early onset dementia, which meant that sometimes he was unable to recognise his loved ones.

She looked after him at home for a while, but life became more difficult and he moved into a care home in Ashington last December.

Then a few weeks ago, police were called when he became aggressive and officers put Mr Davison, 53, in metal handcuffs before taking him to a secure facility, where he resides at the moment.

Mrs Davison said: “When I went to see my husband after he was detained, I could see obvious bruising and cuff marks on his arms and he was still in pain after what happened.

“I accept that people with mental health problems do need to be restrained if they become aggressive, but surely in 2012 there must be a better way than using handcuffs? It’s far too excessive to use them on vulnerable people.

“Velcro straps for example would be a better option for police officers to use in that kind of situation.”

The 47-year-old is also wanting to raise awareness of the impact early onset dementia can have on families.

“It’s very tough for me as a working mum and my three children to see someone struggling so much to the point where he often doesn’t recognise the children,” she said.

“All the services are aimed at elderly people with the condition and more needs to be done to help those who have it in their 40s and 50s, along with their family members.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “At 5am on Wednesday, June 20, police received a request for assistance at Ashington Grange nursing home to help with a man detained under the Mental Health Act who was becoming physically aggressive towards staff.

“Officers attended and assisted in transporting the man to hospital.

“Each case is based on its own merits, however the safety of individuals and the public is paramount.”