Physical restraint: time to let go
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How common is the use of physical restraint?
Physical restraint, defined as any physical or mechanical device, material, or equipment immobilizing or obstructing a person’s ability to move freely , includes 2-point or 4-point wrist or leg restraints, waist or chest restraints, and mittens. Although the international prevalence of physical restraint in the intensive care unit (ICU) setting is highly variable , in some countries use is ubiquitous, particularly for mechanically ventilated patients. For example, in a survey of physicians representing 121 ICUs in France, 82% reported more than 50% of mechanically ventilated patients were restrained at least once . In Canada, a period prevalence survey found 53% of 711 mechanically ventilated patients were physically restrained for an average of 4 days . Unfortunately, variation in reporting of physical restraint incidence or prevalence (e.g., proportion of patients, % days, number of restraint orders/patient days) makes...
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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