Psychiatric hospitals in Israel to minimize restraint of patients

The changes reflect the recommendations of a Health Ministry committee.

May 29, 2017 18:37
2 minute read.

Long empty hospital corridor (illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)


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Psychiatric hospitals in Israel will change their policies on the binding and isolation of the most troublesome or violent patients, making the use of force and restraints the “last resort” of staffers.

The changes reflect the recommendations of a Health Ministry committee – comprised of physicians, nurses, representatives of patients and family members – that looked into the subject this past year on how to reduce the mechanical restriction of such individuals.

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Committee chairman Dr. Boaz Lev, who formerly served as associate director-general and director-general of the ministry, submitted the report to Health Ministry director- general Moshe Bar Siman Tov.

“We are talking about a phenomenon that represents only the tip of the iceberg, and we are ready for the next revolution that will bring psychiatry closer to the front of the stage from the backyard to the living room,” Lev said.

"The committee heard from many witnesses and groups who asked to appear,” he said.

“I must praise the voluntary organizations, the press and the public for putting this issue on the table. This is a vital and important step.”

The reduction of restrictions “begins first and foremost with a change in perception and its placement to professionals, and leadership on the subject is important,” Lev said.

“The conceptual change must be translated into clear procedures and procedures that will constitute a clear framework for conduct.”

“This of course requires resources and appropriate construction to adapt the hospital environment to the patient, and we will continue to monitor the implementation of the program,” he said.

Bar Siman Tov said the committee’s recommendations “will serve as a compass and guide for the coming years."

"The resources we allocate are far from sufficient, but we will continue to spend money on it. The lack of funds has been created over many years in the mental-health system and the problems there are still serious, but we have seen a tremendous change in all the hospitals and a very significant decrease in binding.”

“We need a systemic change that includes procedures, reports and quality indicators,” he said. “We’ve brought in a report that’s applicable. It is important for us to look 20 years ahead and think about how the system should work We are committed to implementing the recommendations, and we want you to continue to follow the implementation as a forum.”

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