Village Green continues to be restraint-free

Success attributed to education and DOC’s commitment to ensuring residents’ quality of life


Shortly after Village Green clinical care co-ordinator Mary Lee Turcotte started her position in December 2014, she was about to put a wheelchair lap belt on a resident when she was promptly told by a staff member: “We don’t do that here.”

Turcotte has worked in other long-term care homes, and says the focus OMNI Health Care and Village Green place on not using restraints was an eye-opener – but it’s a part of the corporate and home culture she has embraced.

OMNI’s latest quality indicator chart shows that the Greater Napanee long-term care home continues to have no residents using daily physical restraints for the second straight year, a success Turcotte chalks up to family education and director of care (DOC) Debbie McTaggart’s commitment to a restraint-free home.

“She is committed to (a restraint-free home) and she advocates for no restraint usage,” Turcotte says of McTaggart.

Having all staff members buy in to the importance of keeping the home restraint-free has depended upon staff members from all departments being educated about restraint reduction.

Village Green is the only one of OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes with no residents using daily physical restraints. Ontario long-term care homes have an average of 9.3 per cent of residents using daily physical restraints.

Physical restraints, which are only used when families insist, refer to devices such as wheelchair seat belts, restrictive lap tables and bed rails. Physical restraints negatively impact people’s quality of life, and OMNI long-term care homes try to dissuade their usage.

Wheelchair lap belts are the most common restraint used in long-term care homes. When family members insist their loved ones use lap belts, they do so because they believe it keeps the resident safe from falling. However, these devices can also put people at risk of agitation which can lead to serious injury.

With no residents using restraints at Village Green, staff members are extra vigilant to watch people who are at high risk of falling. Wheelchairs of at-risk residents are fitted with special alarms that sound should they try to get up.

There are other interventions to reduce the risk of residents falling.

“You can make sure that beds at nighttime are in low positions and there are bed pads beside the beds. You can make sure that staff are diligent in their hourly rounds,” Turcotte says.

Coupled with its success of having no residents using restraints, Village Green has also maintained a low rate of resident falls at 8.62 per cent, 5.18 per cent below the ministry’s benchmark.

“All interventions help … (and) everybody is involved (in restraint reduction),” Turcotte says.