When you restrict the rights of someone you are caring for, or stop them from doing something they want to do, to protect their safety or the safety of others, this is called a restrictive practice.

What is a restrictive practice?

Decision-makers can give consent for:

  • Chemical restraint – medication that changes someone’s behaviour
  • Environmental restraint – restricting access to things like food
  • Mechanical restraint – a device that restricts someone’s movement for behavioural purposes.

Some types of restrictive practices require SACAT’s specific authorisation. This is called Special Powers.

Who can approve a restrictive practice?

If a person does not have decision-making capacity, consent for restrictive practices can be given by:

A Person Responsible, who makes health care decisions

  • As long as no force is used, and
  • The restrictive practices are provided by a registered health practitioner.

A substitute decision-maker (SDM), who is appointed under an Advance Care Directive (ACD)

  • As long as no force is used, and
  • The ACD gives the SDM the power to give consent.

A health care guardian, who is appointed by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT)

  • As long as no force is used, and
  • The Guardianship Order gives the guardian the power to give consent.

Approving restrictive practices

You can apply to SACAT:

  • to appoint a guardian, who can approve restrictive practices
  • to make an order that gives you Special Powers, if you are an appointed guardian or substitute decision-maker
  • to change (vary, review, or revoke) Guardianship Orders and Special Powers.

Restrictive practices for NDIS participants now has a different authorisation process. More information about this will be added shortly.

More information

You can get more information about restrictive practices by:

Related fact sheets

Decision-Making Capacity fact sheet (PDF, 427.4 KB)

Guardianship and the Public Advocate fact sheet (PDF, 496.0 KB)

Advance Care Directives fact sheet (PDF, 519.9 KB)

Consent to Medical Treatment fact sheet (PDF, 522.5 KB)