Physical restraint

What is physical restraint? 

The management of acutely disturbed patients poses a challenge for mental health services. Some patients may be suicidal while others may pose a danger to staff or other patients. The challenge is to maintain the safety of all patients and staff, while providing a therapeutic environment. Management techniques for dealing with patients who become excessively agitated, aggressive, or violent may include the use of physical restraint, seclusion or containment.

What is the evidence for physical restraint ?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests prevalence rates of restraint vary across countries, from 3.8% of patient admissions in Finland to 20% in Japan. Slovenia had a prevalence rate of 5%, Switzerland 6.6%, Germany 7% to 10.4%, United States 8% to 13.6%, Australia 9.4% to 12.5%, and Norway, Israel and Poland all had rates between 14.1% and 15.7%. Factors associated with the use of restraint are male sex, young adult age, foreign ethnicity, schizophrenia diagnosis, involuntary admission, aggression or trying to abscond, and the presence of male staff. Review authors conclude that staff require training on the use of alternatives to physical restraint in order to reduce any risks associated with restraint.

September 2020

Last updated at: 4:46 am, 11th September 2020
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Fact Sheet Technical Commentary
Tags:  Inpatient care

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