Home

  • Home
    • » e-Newsletters

Will the JCAHO consider my facility's use of side rails a restraint?

Accreditation Survey Connection Q&A, April 13, 2005

Q: Will the JCAHO consider my facility's use of side rails a restraint?

 

A: Side rails are considered a restraint if used for that reason, says Peggy Putnam, RN, MSN, CPHQ, director of risk management and safety at Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville, TN.

 

In acute care, the full side rail is used as a medical assistive device and not a

restraint. In the acute care area, the beds are high and will not lower much, she says. If the patient needs a restraint, then the limb restraints are used. In the rest of the hospital, the upper side rails are in the up position and the lower side rails are in the lowered position.

 

If raised to prevent the patients free access and to keep them in bed, then the rails are treated as a restraint. If patients have seizure precautions, then the side rails are raised and the bumper pad used as a medical assistive device, Putnam adds.

 

If the double side rails are raised, use the bumper pad to prevent entrapment, she suggests. If the patient has continuous passive motion (CPM) equipment, the lower side rail on the operative side is raised to prevent the CPM from falling off the bed. The opposite lower side rail is not raised.