Reducing and Managing Restraints in Long‐Term‐Care Facilities

John F. Schnelle, Daniel R. Newman, Marilyn White, Timothy R. Volner, Juanita Burnett, Agnita Cronqvist, Marcia Ory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


To evaluate a management system designed to improve staff adherence to a federal regulation that stated restrained residents should be released, exercised, and repositioned every 2 hours. A delayed intervention, controlled, cross‐over design with three phases. During phase one, baseline, the length of intervals that residents remained in restraints was monitored. The intervention was implemented at site A in Phase two while site B remained in baseline. During Phase three, the intervention was replicated at site B. Two long‐term care proprietary nursing facilities. Sixty‐three physically restrained residents in the two facilities. The intervention was a system of restraint release using colored pads corresponding to specific hours. The management rule was that the resident should be on a different colored pad every 2 hours. Staff had to lift residents to place the pad, and the colors made the system easy for supervisors to check. Checks by research personnel by black light and invisible ink, to detect movement of the knot tying the restraints. During the baseline phase, the majority of residents at both sites were inappropriately restrained longer than 2 hours (site A: 54.1%; site B: 60.1%). The percentage of residents restrained over 2 hours was significantly reduced during the intervention phase to 13.9% (site A) and 19.4% (site B). Three weeks after the end of the intervention, inappropriate use of restraints remained low, 14.2%, but rose to 47.7% after another 3 weeks. The management system is an effective way to increase the consistency with which nursing‐home staff release and reposition restrained residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-385
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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