Restraint use in inpatient rehabilitation: Incidence, predictors, and implications

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15 Scopus citations


The use of mechanical restraints in rehabilitation facilities focuses attention on the conflict between patient safety and independent physical function. To evaluate restraint use, we reviewed records of 323 inpatient rehabilitation admissions. Restraint orders were written for 78.3% of admissions, but used in only 32.2% of cases (mean duration of use was 16 days). Posey vests were most commonly used (78.2%). Reasons for restraint were previous fall (26.8%), impulsivity (23.7%), and inappropriate self-transfers (19.6%). Male sex, decreased mental status, low admission functional independence measure (FIM) score, stroke, or traumatic brain injury were closely associated with restraint use. Falls occurred in 25% of restrained and 10.1% of unrestrained patients. Conclusions are as follows: (1) although physician orders are required to apply restraints, nursing staff initiate, monitor, and discontinue restraint use independently; (2) traumatic brain injury or stroke, decreased admission mental status, lower FIM scores, and male sex are indicators of restraint use; (3) age is not associated with restraint use; and (4) restraints may not prevent falls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-430
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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