DIY Hand Restraints for Elderly/ Dementia to stop from pulling out the tube

Sometimes we need to apply hand restraints for elderly or those with Alzheimer’s and dementia to prevent them from pulling out IVs, feeding, trach and oxygen tubes.

In Thailand, healthcare providers and caregivers understand this challenge. Sometimes older folks refuse to stay in hospital and insist to go home may repeatedly try to pull out tubes that are used to treat or improve their condition.  Alzheimer’s or dementia patients who are hospitalized or placed on tube feeding also would repeatedly try to pull out IVs, oxygen and feeding tubes.

Therefore, some Thai people on their own initiative have come out with ways to make a DIY hand mitten to cover the hands of the patient. It covers the fingers hence it prevents them from bending their fingers, grasping the tube and pulling it out. This knowledge have spread and nurses have feedback that they are thankful for this DIY idea because each time the patient pulls out the tube, it has to be reinserted or placed back, only to have them pull out again. With the hand mittens, the patients are prevented from pulling out the tubes.

Some nurses, on their own initiative even make YouTube videos to teach caregivers how to make these hand mittens. I provide a brief explanation in the video below on how these mittens are made. After that, you may go to the individual videos that are in.

Video timeline:

00:00 Introduction & Why Hand Restraints are Needed
02:30 Items required to make the hand restraints
02:50 Type of plastic bottles that can be used (saline solution bottle)
05:14 Type of material used for the base (cloth or crochet)
06:40 How to make the hand mittens- basics
08:48 Cloth base style
10:14 Crochet style
11:37 DIY hand mitten/cover which I have bought
14:40 Disadvantage of the DIY hand mittens
16:10 DIY hand restraints made by Thai hospitals on their own initiative
17:00 Long term hand mittens (what my mom is using for a few months that prevented her from pulling out her nasogastic tube)
19:10 Hopefully this video helps to give and idea
19:42 Why such hand mittens could work in Thailand (no need heavy duty restraints)

Hand mitten for long term use

The DIY mittens above using plastic are helpful for temporary use. However for long term use, covering a person’s hand with plastic may not be a good idea.

My mom who have end stage Alzheimers and is on nasogastric tube is using a long term hand mitten. She has been wearing the mittens for more than 3 months. We bought our hand mitten from Maysa Medical (a Thai based company):

The mittens have a cloth lining for comfort and netting for ventilation. With the mitten, she was prevented from pulling out her tube and is able to receive nourishment from tube feeding.  I have not seen any other product similar with this so if you wish to get this item, you may contact the company via their FB page or using the LINE app. Even though the materials are in Thai language, the owner and staff are able to converse and write in English well.

It is advisable to have at least 2 pairs of hand mittens as we have one available to use when we have to wash one.

Without the hand mitten to cover my mom’s hand, it would be difficult to have her on tube feeding. My mom was not resistant to the mitten when we first put on her. Within a short time, she also got used to the mittens.

Hope the information above is helpful.

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