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J Gerontol Nurs. 2001 Apr;27(4):56-61.

Achieving restraint-free care of acutely confused older adults.

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University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, 420 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6096, USA.


Restraint-free care has emerged as an indicator of quality care for older adults in all settings. The most difficult challenges to achieving this goal are care of hospitalized older adults who are functionally dependent and cognitively impaired. The purpose of this article is to report findings from a descriptive study of restrained hip fracture patients, and discuss approaches to achieving restraint-free care. Rate of restraint use was 33.2% among hospitalized hip fracture patients during an 11-year period in 20 metropolitan teaching hospitals. Restrained patients were older men who resided in nursing homes prior to hospitalization. Clinically, restrained patients had a diagnosis of dementia, were noted to be confused or disoriented by nursing staff, and were dependent in activities of daily living. An individualized approach to care is the best method to avoid use of physical restraints for patients with acute confusion and cognitive impairment.

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