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Background: Physical restraint is a procedure used frequently in long-term care. It is a controversial practice because its use is associated with numerous complications and also affects freedom and individual autonomy. The objective of this study was to examine the use of physical restraint of long-term care residents with the ability to move voluntarily.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional observational and correlational multi-center study. Nine centers agreed to participate. Of the 1,200 people present at the time of data collection, those without voluntary movement or in the facility for less than a month were excluded. Thus, the final sample was 920 residents. Data on the use of restraints was collected by direct observation. Information about the age, gender, length of stay, falls, mobility, cognition and functional status of residents was gathered by reviewing clinical records and interviewing nursing staff. A descriptive analysis of the data obtained was conducted. The generalized linear model was used, considering only the principal effects of each variable and using the logit link function. The model has been adjusted for clusters and for other possibly confounding factors. For all analyses, a confidence interval (CI) of 95% was estimated.

Results:The prevalence of residents with at least one physical restraint was 84.9% (95% CI: 81.7–88.1), with variability between centers of 70.3 to 96.6% (p-value Kruskal Wallis test

Conclusions: The prevalence was higher than in studies from other countries. The results emphasize the need to improve the training of nursing staff in the care of residents with impairments in functional and cognitive status. The use of alternative devices and nurse consultants need to be evaluated, and the introduction of specific laws considered.


This article originally appeared in BMC Geriatrics, available at DOI 10.1186/s12877-017-0421-8

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