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No more handcuffs for patient restraint, CMS says

Healthcare Security Weekly, June 22, 2004

Under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) guideline 482.13 (f), hospitals should abandon using handcuffs or shackles to restrain prisoner or violent patients, according to changes released last week.

CMS also states that other weapons, such as "pepper spray, mace, nightsticks, Tazers, cattle prods, stun guns, pistols, and other such devices" are considered unsafe for healthcare patient restraint.

"Security staff may carry weapons as allowed by hospital policy and state law," the guidelines say. "The use of weapons by security staff is considered as a law enforcement use and not a healthcare intervention. CMS does not approve the use of weapons by any hospital staff as a means of subduing a patient to place that patient in patient restraint/seclusion."

"Basically, this says that any person is a patient and needs to be treated as a patient," says Fredrick Roll, CHPA-F, CPP, president of Roll Enterprises, Inc., in Morrison, CO.

Roll recommends hospital security directors read the guideline and decide how to adjust policies and procedures accordingly.

To read the CMS guideline update, click here.