Multi-pronged training can cut rates of physical restraint use in nursing homes, study finds

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Interventions such as group training sessions and the provision of supportive materials for staff, residents and relatives can help nursing homes lower dependence on physical restraints, a study found.

Researchers studied 36 nursing homes in two different German cities over a six-month period in a controlled trial. The rates of physical restraints in both groups were similar at the beginning of the study—32% in the intervention group and 31% in the control group.

In the intervention program, nurses were taught best practices to prevent restraint use and were given information on current research findings. They also were instructed on behavioral alternatives to restraints. There was additional training for residents, family members and legal guardians. Control group participants received standard information on the use of restraints.

At the end of the study, use of restraints dropped to 23% in the intervention group and 29% in the control group.

The study was published appears in the May 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.