Restrictive practices

A man needing social care and a social care worker laugh together

People with different conditions and in different settings may need care and support that involves both positive support (such as positive behaviour support), and some form of restrictive practice or intervention. This could be physical restraint or use of devices, medication or seclusion.

Any restrictive intervention must be legally and ethically justified. It must be absolutely necessary to prevent serious harm and it must be the least restrictive option. 

Workers should always aim to meet an individual’s needs with dignity and respect in a way that minimises the risk of harm to the person being supported and the person implementing the intervention.

Guidance to help you

We’ve developed guidance on workforce development for commissioners and employers seeking to minimise the use of restrictive practices in social care and health.

It’s designed to help you make decisions when planning, purchasing or providing learning and development about supporting people positively and carrying out restrictive practices and interventions as part of that. It was developed in partnership with Skills for Health.

A positive and proactive workforce


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