Restraint Use in Acute and Critical Care Settings: Changing Practice

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Reduction of physical restraint use in the acute and critical care setting is a complex issue. Ethical considerations, regulatory and professional standards, legal liability concerns, healthcare team members’ knowledge and attitudes, and unit culture and practice traditions must all be considered. Restraint reduction programs may use a process improvement format that engages the support of the organization’s leadership. Specific interventions for restraint reduction, such as understanding the meaning of a patient’s behavior, using a team approach, and involving the family can be evaluated and modified for application in the acute and critical care setting. Successful initiatives to decrease the use of restraint in this setting require an understanding of the many factors that support and oppose this practice.

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