The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) has procured 50 sets of Pinel Restraints valued at J $8 million, to restrain mentally ill patients in a more compassionate manner for their safety and those around them.
The restraints were acquired and allocated in March to the Authority’s five major hospitals (Mandeville Regional, May Pen, Black River, Percy Junor and Lionel Town hospitals) and major health centres-Black River, May Pen, Spalding health centres and Santa Cruz Centre of Excellence and Mandeville Comprehensive Clinic. The crisis response buses in each parish have also been outfitted with restraints.
Acting Regional Mental Health Officer, SRHA, Karen Elliott explained that before the acquisition of the restraints, less ideal methods were used to restrain mentally challenged patients; however, these restraints will provide involuntary confinement and restrict patients movements in a more compassionate manner for their safety and those around them for a limited amount of time.
“These restraints are safer to use minimizing the complications associated with other forms of restraints and will be used for both inpatient and outpatient care when ordered by a physician” she added.
Nurse Elliott noted that the staff members are extremely grateful to the Authority for procuring these restraints which will make their duties easier.
“Sometimes when we were transporting clients with mental health challenges, we didn’t have the appropriate restraints which proved dangerous to the clients, staff members and the vehicle which was being used for transportation. We are really pleased as we continue to advance the care of mentally ill persons in Jamaica” Nurse Elliott pointed out.
She noted that staff members have received training in de-escalation techniques in addition to the appropriate application of the restraints by the manufacturer as well as the Acting Regional Mental Health Officer. Nurse Elliott said on-going support will continue.
SRHA Regional Director, Michael Bent noted that it was important for the Authority to procure the restraints to advance mental health services in the parishes of Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth.
“I am pleased that we have been making significant advances to mental health care in Jamaica and the SRHA is committed to continuing on this path. Mental health services have not received the attention and resources that it should but in recent times, much has been done to enhance community mental health service delivery and response. While we do what we can to provide the necessary resources to advance mental health care, we need the public’s support if our success is to be assured. I encourage everyone to let us work together to prioritize mental health and also end the stigma and discrimination against persons suffering from mental health challenges” Mr. Bent said.