Media statement 21 June 2017

Queensland’s Public Guardian, Natalie Siegel-Brown welcomes and supports the Queensland Public Advocate’s call for the federal government to end the unregulated use of restraints and other restrictive practices in aged care facilities.

A national framework under the federal Aged Care Act 1997 to regulate restrictive practices and prohibit their use except as a last resort would provide stronger safeguards, greater transparency and independent oversight for those in aged care settings.

As Australia already has a national framework for reducing and eliminating restrictive practices in the disability service sector, there is a pressing need to establish similar protocols for aged care services to prevent elder abuse.

The Public Guardian agrees that the increasing number of people with dementia and the potential harm that may occur as a result of ad hoc or poorly applied restrictive practices, demands a clear legal framework to clarify the legality and appropriate use of restrictive practices in the Australian aged care system.

“Studies have indicated that the use of restrictive practices may actually result in negative physical and psychological effects on the person being restrained.

“Given the Aged Care Act 1997 doesn’t address or regulate the use of restrictive practices in residential aged care, their use in these settings may also constitute a breach of law and human rights,” said Ms Siegel-Brown.

The Australian Law Reform Commission has also made recommendations to regulate the use of restrictive practices in aged care and the Public Guardian strongly supports the recommendations of the Commission.


Additional information: Office of the Public Advocate - Legal frameworks for the use of restrictive practices in residential aged care – statement, paper and media release

OPG Media contact: (07) 3006 2589 or