Long-Term Care

Trainer’s tip: Understanding physical restraints

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, June 30, 2011

Physical restraints are defined as any manual method or physical or mechanical device, material, or equipment attached or adjacent to the resident's body that the individual cannot remove easily and which restricts freedom of movement or normal access to one’s body.

Physical restraints include, but are not limited to, leg restraints, arm restraints, hand mitts, soft ties or vests, lap cushions, and lap trays the resident cannot remove easily. Also included as restraints are facility practices that meet the definition of a restraint, such as the following:

  • Using side rails that keep a resident from voluntarily getting out of bed
  • Tucking in a sheet, fabric, or article of clothing so tight that a resident’s movement is restricted
  • Using devices in conjunction with a chair, such as trays, tables, bars, or belts, that the resident cannot remove easily, and prevent the resident from rising
  • Placing a resident in a chair that prevents him or her from rising
  • Placing a chair or bed so close to a wall that the wall prevents the resident from rising out of the chair or voluntarily getting out of bed

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The Long-Term Care Nursing Desk Reference, Second Edition, by Barbara Acello, MS, RN.

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