Ethical Debate on Using Chemical Restraints on Dementia Patients


Ethical Debate

Using Chemical Restraints on Dementia Patients





Ethical Debate

Topic: Nursing homes should use chemical restraints on dementia patients who are difficult to manage.

Introduction: Dealing with Dementia patients can be challenging and therefore, physical, environmental and chemical restraints are used to limits the movement of the patient. This is not only helpful for the nursing home but also makes it easier for the patients and reduces their risks of getting lost or hurt. While facilitating the patient is the primary reason of chemical restraints, their use is also increasing to establish a healthy and safe environment for the patient (Agens, 2010). There are two points of views about whether using chemical restraints on dementia patients is an ethical practice or not.

Argument 1: The use of chemical restraints has been increasing in nursing homes and is also promoted in multi-agency approaches due to its benefits. 

For: The benefits of the use of chemical restrains are more than the disadvantages. As it ensure the safety of the patient, multi-agencies working for the care of Dementia patients are also using it to make their health services better. All this is targeted to develop a safe environment for the patient (Dewing, 2010).

Against: Use of chemical restraints delivers more benefits to the agencies and nursing homes than the patient himself, it helps them deal with the patient no matter what the patient feel about it (Evans & Cotter, 2008).

Argument 2: The use of chemicals is necessary for Dementia patients because only some physical and environmental care might not be enough to make the patients feel comfortable.

For: Physical and environmental care are just part of the care system and the job of the nursing homes is to deliver quality health service that should certainly include chemical assistance.

Against: Excessive use of chemicals raises other health concerns in the patients and can also become life threatening for the patient (Bowcott, 2009).

Argument 3: Sometimes the families and care takers of the patient demand that the patient is given some medication that improves his mental health and also fosters containment.

For: To avoid any inconvenience e.g. stress and depression of the patient that might also lead to aggression or violence, the use of chemical restraints is necessary (Foebel, et al., 2016). This is not only good for the patients but also ensures the safety of people in his surroundings.

Against: A patient is a living person; he has his own needs, desires and will. Without caring about what the patient actually needs, restraining him with a drug is not justified and is an unethical medical practice.


For: The use of the chemicals is necessary for the health and safety of Dementia patients; it prevents them from depression, violent behaviour, and other health concerns. Moreover, it also ensures the safety of people in their surroundings. 

Against: Chemical restraints is not justified because since the patients are already struggling with an acute illness, it complements the hindrance that they are facing to lead a comfortable life. They are living humans and have every right to live freely without any restraints.








Agens, J. (2010). Chemical and Physical restraints Use in the Older Person. British Journal of Medical Practitioners, 3(1), 302. Retrieved March 26, 2016

Bowcott, O. (2009, November 12). Chemical Restraints Killing Dementia Patients. Retrieved March 26, 2016, from The Guardian Website:

Dewing, J. (2010). Responding to Agitation in People With Dementia. Journal for Professionals Working in Gerontological Care, 22(6), 18-25. Retrieved March 26, 2016

Evans, L., & Cotter, V. (2008). Avioding Restraints in Patients with Dementia: Understanding, Prevention and Management are the Keys. American Journal of Nursing, 108(3), 40-49. Retrieved March 26, 2016

Foebel, A., Onder, G., Finne-Soveri, H., Lukas, A., Denkinger, M., Carfi, A., . . . Liperoti, R. (2016). Physical Restraint and Antipsychotic Medication Use Among Nursing Home Residents With Dementia. Jounral of the American Medical Directors Association, 17(2), 184-189. Retrieved March 26, 2016





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