Physical Restraints in Advanced Illness

Physical restraints are broadly defined as any physical device, material, or equipment that limits a patient’s deliberate bodily movement or normal access to their body. In clinical practice, the most common physical restraints are bedrails, bed and chair alarms, wrist and ankle mittens, lap belts, and chairs with fixed tables to prevent patients from rising. A population-based study across over 14,000 nursing homes in the US found the prevalence of physical restraint use among residents to be roughly 9%. This Fast Facts discusses the impacts of physical restraints and ways clinicians can minimize the use of physical restraints for patients at the end of life.  

Link: Fast Facts #462 (4/2023)