5 July 2012
Were handcuffs necessary?
It has been revealed today that an 84 year old Alzheimer’s patient was strapped to a stretcher and handcuffed as he was taken to hospital, without his family present.
Alan Bailey was living at his home and received regular care from local health workers. As his
situation become worse it was decided he needed to be sectioned and would be transported to hospital, accompanied by his daughter. This appointment was moved forward 24 hours,
due to deterioration in his health, and his daughter was no longer able to attend.
He was left in the hands of medical staff he didn’t know and was strapped to a stretcher, causing him distress. Mr Bailey attempted to free himself so was handcuffed, as the accompanying police officer feared for the safety of the patient and those around him. Detective Chief Inspector Koran Sellars, of Greater Manchester police, said: “Due to Mr Bailey’s demeanour and age, attempts at physically restraining him may have led to him sustaining serious injuries. Handcuffs were deemed the safest and most reasonable option in the circumstances.”
Mr Bailey’s daughter, Sandra Coombes, has condemned the actions of the police saying, ‘There was no need to handcuff him. My dad was so frail. Why on earth did they handcuff him? To send a policeman to accompany him was unbelievable.”
This case highlights the need for further training on issues surrounding Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Ian Weatherhead, of Dementia UK, said: ‘The moving forward of a meeting by health workers, which in effect excluded Mr Bailey’s daughter, would suggest this was a serious contributing factor to the appalling treatment he was subjected to. Family members need to be involved and listened to at all times. The tragic story regarding Mr Bailey and his family shows that there is still continuing widespread lack of education and understanding around dementia.”