The AMA has revised its Position Statement on Restraint in the Care of People in Residential Aged Care Facilities.

AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, said that the AMA recognises the need for balance between a patient's right to self-determination and protection from harm, including harm to other residents and staff.

"Medical practitioners work with patients, carers, and family members to ensure that restraint is used as a last resort, and for the shortest possible period," Dr Parnis said.

"There is a clear distinction between treating older people with diagnosed illness and using psychotropics (psychiatric medicines that alter chemical levels in the brain that impact mood and behaviour) for the sole purpose of restraint.

"Psychotropic medications are a clinically appropriate treatment for older people with medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, and dementia.

"They can be very effective in assisting a person to become settled in their environment.

"The use of restraints can be considerably minimised through proper resourcing, appropriate levels of trained staff to engage residents in meaningful activities, and facility design and infrastructure that maintains a low stress environment," Dr Parnis said.

The Position Statement is available at