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Should individuals in wheelchairs always use seat belts?

The need for restraints is guided by a treatment plan created by the health care team. The plan is discussed with the client or the client’s substitute decision maker. Baycrest’s physical restraint policy, guided by provincial legislation, is a least restraint approach which includes restraint alternatives.

A seat belt is considered a restraint if a person is unable to undo it by him/her self. The use of restraints can contribute to a range of serious consequences, even death. Informed consent must be obtained from the person (if capable of providing consent) prior to the use of any type of restraint except in emergency situations. A substitute decision maker may not insist on restraint use. This must be a conversation with the health care team, the substitute decision maker and the client, where possible.