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J Adv Nurs. 2014 Jan;70(1):130-43. doi: 10.1111/jan.12176. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

Risk factors associated with physical restraints in residential aged care facilities: a community-based epidemiological survey in Taiwan.

Author information

  • 1Department of Nursing, Mackay Medical College, New Taipei City, Taiwan.
  • 2Information Science and Applications Alumni Association, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan.
  • 3Department of Health Care Management, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taiwan.
  • 4Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Adv Nurs. 2014 Mar;70(3):709.



To identify the rate and risk factors of physical restraint in residential aged care facilities in Taiwan.


In Taiwan, physical restraint is commonly used in aged care facilities to prevent accidents. Many are unaware of the associated risks. Restrained residents cannot move freely, increasing the risk of atrophy and leading to reduced physical functioning.


A community-based epidemiological survey.


Data were collected from June-December 2007 across 178 residential aged care facilities with 5,173 residential beds in the target city of Taiwan. Twenty facilities were sampled using probability proportional to size by beds and accreditation ranking. In all, 256 primary caregivers (78 nurses and 178 care aides) and 847 residents completed the study questionnaires and tests. A multilevel analysis approach was used to identify individual- and facility-level risk factors for physical restraint and assess the variation in physical restraint at the individual- and facility-level.


Of 847 residents, 62% (527) were restrained during the study period. The main reasons for restraint use were fall prevention and prevention of tube removal. Resident level risk factors for physical restraint included lower Barthel Index scores (more dependent) and an agreement allowing the use of physical restraint to avoid injury signed by a family member or social worker. A facility-level risk factor for physical restraint was younger primary caregivers.


To reduce the incidence of physical restraint in residential aged care facilities in Taiwan, educational programmes should target primary caregivers and families in facilities.


Barthel Index; agreement; attitude; long-term care; measurement; multilevel analysis; nursing; physical restraint; primary caregivers

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