Journal article

Regulating restraint use in mental health and aged care settings: Lessons from the Oakden scandal

Yvette Maker, Bernadette McSherry

Alternative Law Journal | Sage Publications | Published : 2019


This article argues that there exist unnecessary gaps in the regulation of the use of physical, mechanical and chemical restraints in mental health and aged care settings. While the use of these forms of restraint may be rationalised on the basis of preventing harm to self or others, there are adverse consequences that necessitate the minimisation, if not elimination, of their use. The overuse of mechanical and chemical restraints at the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service in South Australia led to several scathing inquiries. This article looks at the lessons learned and suggests a multidimensional, consistent approach is overdue.


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by an Australian Research Council Grant, DP160100679, Model Laws to Regulate the Use of Restraint on Persons with Disabilities.