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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Oct;57(10):1881-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02440.x. Epub 2009 Aug 13.

The use of physical restraints in home care in the Netherlands.

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  • 1Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands.



To gain more knowledge of the application of physical restraints to restrict, restrain, or prevent movement by elderly people living at home.




Nursing staff in Dutch home care.


One hundred fifty-seven nursing staff in home care (registered nurses and certified nursing assistants) from a randomly selected and nationally representative panel returned the questionnaire (response rate 72%).


A structured questionnaire on the use of physical restraints.


Four of every five nursing staff members have applied physical restraints. The use of bed rails, putting the client in a deep chair or using a chair with a table, and locking doors to prevent wandering were most frequently applied, often at the request of the client or his or her family. Protection of the client is the reason most frequently given for these actions. Almost all respondents (94%) know of no alternatives, nor does consensus exist on what is considered to be a physical restraint.


Guidelines are necessary regarding the course of action to be taken when a client is in danger of hurting him- or herself. Further education on and due consideration of the use of physical restraints in home care are also required.

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