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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2006 Oct;13(5):527-32.

An analysis of nurses' post-incident manual restraint reports.

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City University, London, UK.


Manual restraint techniques are associated with the management of violence in psychiatric settings. Restraint effectiveness and acceptability are under scrutiny, yet the nature and frequency of who or what were involved in restraint episodes have not previously been fully described or understood. The aim of this study was to describe the nature and frequency of manual restraint-related events and their components. This study was carried out using content analyses of nurses' post-incident reports from a psychiatric unit situated within a general hospital, and from its associated medium-secure unit. Requests for restraint occurred at the rate of about once per day, and the majority related to patients' ill-directed frustration, resistance to containment and their desire to leave the ward. Only half of responses to conflicts resulted in restraint implementation. The majority of restraint activities occurred during the afternoon and night. Male patients and detained patients were more frequent participants in restraint interventions. To a lesser extent, police, ambulance, fire services, hospital security, visitors and ex-patients were also involved in restraint episodes. Injuries were rare. In conclusion, training in restraint skills, clinical audit of adverse incidents, and research into psychiatric aggression all need to take into account the association of restraint with the enforcement of detention and treatment of acutely ill patients. The coupling of restraint with medication requires examination of its safety and efficacy. Interagency training may enable the essential services involved to coordinate restraint activities more effectively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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