Emergency debate over restrained boy
Labour MPs have called from an emergency debate over the plight of an 18-year-old mentally handicapped boy, who has been strapped to a wall for the last three years.
A film made by the boy's mother was shown on Dutch public television NOS yesterday evening. MPs are shocked by the conditions the boy is living in.
Brandon lives in a home for mentally handicapped in the south eastern town of Ermelo. He wears a harness which is attached to the wall by a strap. Staff only enter the room, which is not dissimilar to an isolation cell, if he is restrained. According to the boy's mother he has not been outside for three years.
The care home, s Heeren Loo, says there is no alternative; Brandon has "exceptionally complex problems, which require structural restraint." The inspectorate, which visited the boy on Tuesday, agrees with the home. "The problems of this client are so serious, that in spite of efforts by the home to limit restrictive measures as much as possible, he has to be limited in his freedom permanently for his own safety and the safety of others."
Platform VG, an association for the mentally handicapped and their families, wants the rules changed if it turns out that this kind of restraint is allowed.
In 1988, the Dutch public were shocked when photos emerged of Jolanda Venema, who was strapped naked to a brick wall at another care home. At the time, around 2000 mentally handicapped people were held in similar conditions. The case led to the setting up of a Centre for Consultation and Expertise CCE for the long-term care of difficult patients to avoid such methods being used. Ironically the centre is also involved in Brandon's case.
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