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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1996 Nov;44(11):1348-54.

Physical restraints in geriatric care in Sweden: prevalence and patient characteristics.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, UmeĆ” University, Sweden.



Physical restraints are used frequently in geriatric care to promote the safety of frail older patients. This study investigated the prevalence of the use of physical restraints in geriatric care and the way in which patient characteristics are related to the use of physical restraints.


A point prevalence study of patients cared for in various types of geriatric settings.


Eight nursing homes, 15 old people's homes, a somatic geriatric clinic, and a psychogeriatric clinic in a health care district in northern Sweden.


A total of 1325 patients, mean age 82 years, 64% of whom were women.


The Multi-Dimensional Dementia Assessment Scale (MDDAS) was used to measure motor function, vision, hearing, speech, ADLs, behavioral symptoms, psychiatric symptoms, use of psychoactive drugs, and the physical and psychological workload of the staff. In addition, questions concerning the use of physical restraints were added to the instrument.


Twenty-four percent of the patients were physically restrained. The highest prevalence was found in nursing homes and psychogeriatric care. Physical restraints were found to relate most strongly to cognitive impairment, impaired ADLs, and speech and walking ability. Ninety-four percent of the restrained patients were cognitively impaired. Other variables relating to the use of physical restraints were psychiatric symptoms and behavioral disturbances.


This study has shown that physical restraints are used frequently in geriatric care in Sweden and that cognitive and physical impairments relate very closely to the use of physical restraints.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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