Restraint use in nursing homes continues to decline

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The percentage of nursing home patients with restraints fell to 5% in 2007, down more than half from 1999, according to a recent report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Roughly 11% of all nursing home patients had restraints at the end of the last decade, according to the 2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report from AHRQ. Restraint use was at 6% in 2006. The agency also noted a reduction in restraint use among individual ethnic groups in its report. Black residents experienced the least amount of restraint, dropping from 10% in 1999 to 4% in 2007. Asian and Pacific Islanders experienced the most restraint at 16% in 1999, falling to 7% in 2007.

Nursing home residents who are physically restrained are prone to pressure sores and other problems, such as chronic constipation or incontinence as well as emotional problems, according to AHRQ.