Monday, 26 June 2017

Is this the best we can do?

Shackled to a bed.

Okaasan is tied to a bed in a mental health hospital, on drugs to control her moods.

We are having serious doubts about this. 

DS gave the hospital permission to use restraints at the start, because we were all worried that Okaasan would get up in the night and fall down - damaging her spine or other body part again. It was for the best care.

But now? She is in a room alone. The door is locked. And there are foot and arm restraints.
Is this the best that a Japanese mental health hospital can do with an 86 year old who suffers from dementia?
She isn't a danger to other people, maybe there is a risk to herself if she gets angry about the locked door or something in the room. But, restraints?

DS is calling the hospital today and hoping for a doctor meeting later this week.

We feel awful. Guilty. Is this the best way?

Surely there must be a better way to put an 86 year old on mood controlling drugs in a safe environment? She was shouting and angry with people and things. She threw things across the room - but she wasn't running amok in a public place with a carving knife.

If I were tied to a bed in a locked room, with no TV or magazines I WOULD BE ANGRY TOO.

It's all shades of every mental health care scene I've seen in movies, Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, or the recent Silver Linings Playbook. We are the family unfamiliar with all of this....and Okaasan is depending on us to make good decisions for her.

Oh. I don't know. She can't be at home shouting and throwing stuff at us, a care home doesn't want her until she is calm and careable....and this the best we can do?


  1. I am so sorry to read that but I am afraid this is the best you can do at the moment. It is truly awful to go through this process although I was expecting something like that. I am afraid the restraining is part of the process when the patient is in a rage and in danger of hurting herself and others. They need to find the correct medication and the right dosage and unfortunately this is pretty much a guess work and it has ups and downs. That is why they need a month.

    Having said that he definitely needs a meeting with her doctor. He must be thoroughly informed of every step. Was the rage caused by a new dosage, a new drug? Why is she without tv or magazines? I am truly surprised there is not a social worker following up her case to give DS all necessary information and emotional support he needs. As you said this is Japan and I also expected much more from their health care.


  2. Thank you so much for sharing all this, as difficult as it must be. It is important to me to know, and to think about it, and prepare myself and my family.

  3. So sorry you all have to go through this. It's not easy anywhere, and there are aspects in Japan that make it uniquely hard. :(
    But what she has on her side is YOU -- a family, doing all they can for her, as her doctors try to stabilize her. I wish you all peace.

  4. This must feel awful for you and your husband. At first, I was surprised to read that she was restrained. It seems barbaric. But if she is angry and threatening people, or at risk for hurting herself, maybe that is a standard procedure. I don't know. My relative had to be restrained when medication induced some hallucinations and the relative was a danger to herself and others.

    Like you, I would be deeply uncomfortable upon learning she was tied to a bed with nothing to do. I would think that a book or some magazines would be permitted, even if TV is not. Of course she feels angry and confused.

    I hope you and dear son can work this out with the hospital.

    1. Yes, the restraints seem to be so degrading. Originally he agreed to them to keep her from falling out of bed at night, or walking and falling in a private room. But they are also used daytime when she is alone in the room. The no magazines ets is a removal of stimulation - the images and ideas were over-activating her brain. When she was home 3 weeks ago she was not really understanding that TV was recorded and not real - shouting and getting angry because kids were "working" on the TV at 7 am....