Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Am Geriatr Soc. 1994 Jun;42(6):586-92.

Safety assessment for the frail elderly: a comparison of restrained and unrestrained nursing home residents.

Author information

  • 1Borun Center for Gerontological Research, UCLA School of Medicine.



To facilitate clinicians' judgement concerning physical restraint decisions by identifying potentially reversible injury risk factors that differentiate representative samples of restrained and unrestrained nursing home residents.


Comparison of restrained and unrestrained nursing home residents on a safety assessment for the frail elderly (SAFE) protocol.


Long-term care facilities in the Greater Los Angeles Area.


One hundred eight physically restrained and 111 unrestrained nursing home residents.




(1) Internal, Interrater, and test/retest reliability of the overall SAFE protocol and of the four major factors measured by SAFE; (2) The relationship of SAFE scores to expert judgment of resident injury risk; (3) Differences between large samples of restrained and unrestrained residents on specific SAFE score factors.


Two walking, one transition, and one judgment factor are reliably measured by the SAFE protocol. SAFE scores were significantly correlated with expert judgment of risk for injury and showed large differences between restrained and unrestrained residents, even after differences in ambulation ability between the two groups were accounted for.


The SAFE is a reliable protocol that measures behavioral factors related to falls and risk for injury among nursing home residents with a broad range of cognitive impairment. Factors that significantly differentiate restrained and unrestrained groups should be targeted for rehabilitation and remediation in physical restraint reduction efforts. Removing or changing restraints for the large sample (50%) of restrained residents who were not ambulatory will not significantly increase their mobility, since the majority of this group could not independently propel their wheelchairs. Increased mobility for the large group of both restrained and unrestrained residents will likely be realized only if restraint reduction programs are combined with interventions to improve both mobility and the specific behavioral performance factors measured by SAFE.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk