Long-Term Care

Defining restraints under the MDS 3.0

MDS 3.0 Insider, October 18, 2010

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Before working to reduce restraint use, a facility must ensure that its staff members have a complete understanding of what is considered a restraint. According to the RAI User’s Manual for the MDS 3.0, a physical restraint is “any manual method or mechanical device, material, or equipment attached to the resident’s body that the individual cannot remove easily, which restricts freedom of movement or normal access to one’s body.”

Knowing the definition of a restraint is necessary not only to identify restraints, which must be done prior to starting a reduction program, but also to properly code these devices on the MDS 3.0.

The RAI User’s Manual for the MDS 3.0 provides clarifications for words and phrases included in the definition for physical restraints. To read some of these clarifications, visit MDSCentral.



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