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Bassett Medical Center Reduces the Use of Restraints

While restraint use is common practice in most hospitals to ensure critically ill patients do not intentionally or inadvertently remove therapeutic devices and life sustaining equipment, reports illustrate the high risk of restraint use for patients, including injuries, infections, decreased cognitive ability, and even strangulation.

The nursing team at Bassett Medical Center’s Critical Care unit initiated a multidisciplinary plan to decrease restraint use. They used the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Roadmap for Implementing Change to assess the unit’s level of readiness for the change. The team identified root causes and developed tools and strategies to implement a restraint reduction program. Senior leadership provided support for financial and staffing needs. Local unit leadership developed education, restraint alternative competencies, and meaningful rewards and recognition opportunities.

Since implementation of the program, the hospital has seen a reduction of both episodes of restraint use and the number of patients restrained. They achieved a 45.2% reduction in episodes of restraint and a 27.2% reduction in number of patients restrained. Additionally, positive ratings around nurse communication increased 27%.

For more information, contact Carol Forman, Director, Inpatient Nursing – ICU, SCU, CVI, Telemetry, Transport, Vascular Access Team, (607) 547-5938,