This blogpost updates a post I wrote about restrictive interventions in inpatient services used on people with learning disabilities and autistic people leading up to the first peak of COVID-19 in England.
The last blogpost had information up to the end of March 2020 - this blogpost includes information up to the end of May 2020.
It is important to remember that these statistics on ‘restrictive interventions’ (restraints) seriously underestimate the true picture, because many independent sector inpatient services do not report into the MHSDS dataset where restraints are recorded.
From January to May 2020, the percentage of people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people in inpatient units who were subject to restraint increased as the overall number of people in inpatient units decreased. In January 2020, 11.3% of people in inpatient units were subject to some form of restraint, rising to 16.2% of people in May 2020. In total, 540 people in May 2020 were subject to restraint at least once in the month, with a total of 5,520 restraints reported.
Those people who did experience some form of restraint experienced restraint on average 9.6 times in January 2020 (almost once every 3 days), increasing to 10.2 restraints per person in May 2020.
There were increases in May 2020 in almost all types of restraint, with particularly stark increases in prone, supine and 'other' forms of physical restraint, chemical restraint in the forms of oral medication and injections of rapid tranquilisers, and seclusion.
As restrictions in inpatient services related to COVID-19 continue, these statistics show sharply increasing use of severe physical restraint, chemical restraint and seclusion on people with learning disabilities and autistic people in these services.