TOKYO (AFP) – Scores of elderly people living in sheltered accommodation in Tokyo have been routinely tied to their beds or locked in their rooms, officials said Wednesday, highlighting the plight of pensioners in rapidly ageing Japan.
A Tokyo authority has ordered a care pro-vider to stop the abuse of elderly people
in three separate buildings, after inspectors found around 130 people being routinely re-strained against their will.
“After a media report in November we investigated the service operator, and spotted some 130 elderly people out of 150 residents in condominiums were bound to their beds or locked in their rooms by care workers,” an official told AFP.
“Carers used the body restraints on the instruction of doctors, but without considering whether such measures were necessary,” he said.
Japan’s health ministry said in 2001 that bodily restraints should only be used when there is no alternative means of protecting the patient and the care giver. It also said such restraints should only be temporary.
“It was difficult for us to see the wrong-doing because these condominiums were not formally registered as residences for the elderly, rather the landlords had insisted that they were being rented out as regular homes,” the Tokyo official said.
Another official said there are at least 25 such facilities in Tokyo, where the property owner says they are normal houses that simply have care services located nearby.