Reasons for physically restraining patients and residents: a systematic review and content analysis

Int J Nurs Stud. 2002 Sep;39(7):735-43. doi: 10.1016/s0020-7489(02)00015-9.


Objective: The purpose of this systematic review was to determine why people are physically restrained in the acute and residential care settings.

Method: A comprehensive search was undertaken of electronic databases to identify studies addressing the reasons for using physical restraint. Findings were synthesised using content analysis.

Results: Twenty-three studies were identified. The most common reason for using restraints related to patient-oriented issues such as ensuring the safety of people. However, they are also commonly used to facilitate treatment, maintain the social environment and because of issues such as understaffing.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Control
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Psychomotor Agitation / therapy
  • Restraint, Physical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Management