© SuppliedTerry Reeves on his first day in the home (left) and seven weeks later.
Video and photos obtained by the ABC show dementia patients strapped to their chairs in a Sydney nursing home - a practice the Australian Law Reform Commission says could constitute elder abuse.
Michelle McCulla contacted the ABC's aged care investigation after her 72-year-old father Terry Reeves was regularly strapped to his chair at Garden View Nursing Home in Merrylands, in Sydney's west.
Records show on one day he spent a total of 14 hours over one day in restraints.
"They said that he had gotten aggressive with another male nurse," Ms McCulla said.
"By being aggressive he was yelling and they felt the need that they had to then restrain him in his chair.
"He was left in a room by himself, tied into a chair.
"You wouldn't tie your dog up and leave it, let alone an elderly man."
© SuppliedTerry Reeves was restrained with straps in a chair for a total of 14 hours.
Shortly after Mr Reeves moved into Garden View, Ms McCulla's mother was asked to sign a consent form to allow staff to use a restraint.
The form shows that Garden View can also use belts, tables, chairs, bed rails and medication to restrain residents.
Ms McCulla's mother signed the form giving permission for her husband to be physically restrained with a lap belt if he was "a danger to himself or others".
But Ms McCulla said it was used too often and for too long.
"Every single day there was a family member there and every single day he was in a restraint," Ms McCulla said.
Records provided by Garden View Nursing Home show in one 24-hour period Terry Reeves was restrained from 2:30am to 10:00pm the next night.
© SuppliedTerry Reeves' family say he was frequently unresponsive when they came to visit.
Garden View said there were regular breaks and he was repositioned, stood up and/or walked and toileted during that period. However, he spent a total of 14 hours in a physical restraint.
Garden View Nursing Home said it was still investigating the case and that it was "taking measures to more effectively work towards a restraint-free environment for our home".
"We regret that Mr Reeves may have been restrained more frequently than some of his family has subsequently indicated they felt was ideal," the home said in a statement.
Michelle McCulla believes her father was also chemically restrained with powerful antipsychotics on a regular basis - without the family's knowledge or consent.
"About two weeks after he went in we started to see the signs of the drooping head, drooling," Ms McCulla said.
"And [one] day we couldn't even get him to wake, couldn't get him to look at us. Nothing.
"That was the day that we asked them to see his medical charts, and they showed us it and said 'we've given him nothing'."
© SuppliedTerry Reeves with his wife in 2017.
The home said the medication was stopped after Terry Reeves fell but Ms McCulla said her father continued to show signs of being over-sedated.
After Mr Reeves left the facility, the family received a chemist bill showing he had been prescribed a total of 180 tablets for Rixadone, an anti-psychotic, while at the home.
Garden View Nursing Home said "the amount supplied was not all used" and Mr Reeves was given the drug just six times.
The facility received a 100 per cent score from the regulator, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, in January last year - just months before Mr Reeves went for his respite stay.
Australia has no regulation around restrictive practices such as physical and chemical restraint.
It means nursing homes are not questioned about when or how they are used and therefore the use of these restraints has no effect on accreditation scores.
Three federal inquiries have recommended stricter controls around restraints.
© SuppliedGarden View's form asks families how and when someone can be restrained.
The Australian Law Reform Commission wants their use be regulated.
In its Elder Abuse report, it says the use of restraints in some circumstances could be considered elder abuse.
Despite these recommendations, a spokesman for Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said there were no plans to introduce regulation.
Europe, New Zealand and the US all have regulation around restrictive practices.
Queensland public advocate Mary Burgess said restrictive practices could constitute abuse under domestic law and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment under international law.
"It's a breach of your basic human rights to have these things done to you," Ms Burgess said.
"If this was happening to anyone who wasn't part of the aged population in a nursing home it would be regarded as criminal, and we need to be taking a step back and [look] at the way we're treating older people and why we're doing this.
© ABC News/David MaguireMichelle McCulla was worried about the drugs and physical restraints used on her father.
"It seems to me to a large degree to be down to poor practice, 'this is what we've been doing before' and also convenience in terms of staffing and resourcing."
Woman falls seven times as sedative dose tripled
In another case, a Victorian woman was administered excessive drugs, causing her to fall and contributing to her death after just nine weeks in care.
Margaret Barton, who also had dementia, was given excessive amounts of a sedative to treat her agitation.
Mrs Barton spent a total of nine weeks in two different nursing homes - CraigCare Mornington and Mecwacare Park Hill.
The GP attached to CraigCare prescribed Oxazepam to the 84-year-old to be given by staff "as needed" to help with her agitation.
Three weeks later, he changed the prescription, effectively tripling the dose to a level later described as "excessive".
"She just seemed to be completely out of it," her son David Barton said.
"We just thought that this was about the advancing dementia.
"As laypeople we don't know a lot about these things."
When CraigCare staff noticed Mrs Barton was falling after the dosage was increased, they stopped giving the extra dose.
However CraigCare failed to pass on this information when Mrs Barton moved to a different nursing home, Mecwacare Park Hill.
Mecwacare Park Hill had instructions to give Oxazepam three times a day and extra "as needed".
Mrs Barton's agitation worsened and she was later diagnosed with delirium, partly due to the medication changes.
She fell seven times in a 10-day period and was admitted to hospital where she later died.
The coroner found Mrs Barton died of pneumonia "caused by rib and pelvic fractures" and that "the medication regime contributed to her physical decline and death".
"It just seems to me utterly bizarre . how Mum can go into a nursing home, being quite reasonably healthy but suffering from dementia, and we expected her to live for quite a number of years later, and yet to find that in eight weeks' time she's dead," Mr Barton said.
"You just can't help feeling that the system killed Mum. There's got to be better alternatives."
Craigcare Mornington said staff had given sedatives only as prescribed by the doctor and the case had important lessons for the industry.
Mecwacare said its nurses followed doctors' orders and added that it had since improved its processes following Mrs Barton's death.
Australia's most respected dementia specialist, Henry Brodaty, has carried out education programs for nursing home staff and GPs that cut antipsychotic use by 85 per cent.
Another study to reduce agitation without medication was successful and cost-effective.
He recommended the Federal Government roll the program out around the country, but that has not happened.
"It's been a few years now. Maybe I haven't advocated vigorously enough, but we need to work on that more," Professor Brodaty said.
"I think the time is now, because people are ready for it and I'm hopeful that we can make some changes."
These families - and many others who have contacted the ABC's aged care investigation - want the issue of physical and chemical restraint to be included in the upcoming royal commission into the aged care sector.