Prevalence, Risk Factors and Outcomes Associated with Physical Restraint in Acute Medical Inpatients over 4 Years-A Retrospective Cohort Study

Link to article at PubMed

Geriatrics (Basel). 2023 Jan 17;8(1):15. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics8010015.


BACKGROUND: Physical restraints are frequently used in acute care hospitals. Their application is associated with negative outcomes, while their intended preventive effect is debated.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of physical restraints and associated outcomes on medical wards in a tertiary care hospital.

METHODS: Retrospective cohort study (January 2018 to December 2021). We included all adult medical in-patients and excluded patients with admission to the intensive care unit, short stays (length of stay (LOS) < 48 h), and patients declining informed consent.

RESULTS: Of 11,979 admissions, the prevalence of patients with at least one restraint was 6.4% (n = 772). Sensor mats were used most frequently (73.0%, n = 666), followed by blanket restrictions (14.5%, n = 132), bedrails (8.8%, n = 80) and belts (3.7%, n = 34). On average, restraints were applied 19 h (standard deviation (SD) ± 161) before a fall. Average restraint duration was 42 h (SD ± 57). Patients with a restraint had longer LOS 8 days (IQR 5-14) vs. 5 days (IQR 3-9). Median nurses' time expenditure was 309 h (IQR 242-402) vs. 182 h (IQR 136-243) for non-restrained patients. Patients with restraints fell more often (22.5% vs. 2.7%) and were more likely to die (13.3% vs. 5.1%). These differences persisted after adjusting a regression model for important clinical confounders. We saw a decline in the duration of restraints over the years, but no variation between wards.

CONCLUSION: Approximately 6% of medical patients, mostly older and severely ill, were affected by restraint use. For the first time, we report data over 4 years up to ward-level granularity.

PMID:36826357 | DOI:10.3390/geriatrics8010015

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