Disabled woman tied to chair for 12 hours

A DOWN syndrome woman who was tied screaming to a chair for 12 hours a day has been rescued from a Queensland nursing home.

The State Government's Office of the Public Advocate yesterday warned of "institutionalised elder abuse'' in some aged care homes where residents were tied up, locked away or sedated.

Public Advocate Mary Burgess demanded that the Federal Government ban "restrictive practices'' in aged care homes across the ­nation.

"We owe older members of our community greater regard and respect than to permit this situation to continue,'' she told The Sunday Mail.

"It is difficult to understand why no action has been taken to address this issue, when on a daily basis older Australians in aged care facilities across the country are being subjected to physical and chemical restraint and seclusion without any oversight or accountability.

"The only issue that could be holding the (Federal) ­Government back from legislating to regulate the use of restrictive practices is pressure from the aged care industry.''

Ms Burgess's comments follow a shocking abuse case exposed by Queensland's Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which investigates complaints from children in foster care, as well as adults with impaired decision-making capacity.

The OPG recently rescued a woman with Down syndrome who was put in a Queensland nursing home when no longer able to care for herself.

"It was discovered that the woman was being held in restraints in a chair for up to 12 hours per day, was screaming all the time and had also been assaulted in the chair by another resident at the facility,'' the OPG told a Senate inquiry into aged care abuse.

An OPG spokeswoman refused to reveal the name of the nursing home, and whether it or its managers or staff had been prosecuted or sanctioned.

But the Office of the Public Advocate, a State Government agency that lobbies for people who cannot make decisions for themselves, said nursing homes and staff were at "serious risk of prosecution or legal action."

Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said restrictive practices should be a "last resort".