For years, physical restraints have been viewed as an appropriate intervention to prevent falls, to manage wandering and/or behavioral disturbances, or to minimize tampering with medical devices (intravenous lines, feeding tubes, indwelling bladder catheters, etc.).
However, recent research has demonstrated that restraints do not prevent falls. In fact, people who are restrained still fall, and are more likely to be seriously injured if the fall occurs while restrained. And other methods for managing wandering, behavioral issues and interference with medical devices have been found to be more effective. Physical restraints should only be used in rare circumstances, and only as a short-term measure. Using a restraint should be the last resort, even when a justifiable medical indication is present. Close attention to the person's comfort, safety and needs for hydration, elimination, exercise and social interaction is essential while the restraint is in use.
Resources Created by DADS
Resources from Other Organizations
Dementia Care Practice Recommendations for Assisted Living Residences and Nursing Homes is a guide for providing quality care to residents with dementia, and include recommendations for providing care without the use of physical restraints.
Tools: Physical Restraints (PDF format) includes information about basic assessment, assessment tools, falls, behavior problems, wandering and medical necessity.
Restraint Clinical Tools & Resources can help nursing facilities reduce physical restraint use with technical assistance and interventions directed at process and system redesign.
Restraint Toolkit helps nursing home staff with restraint reduction efforts.§Note: You must complete the free registration to access the information on this website.