The Relationship Between Physical Restraint Removal and Falls and Injuries Among Nursing Home Residents


Elizabeth Capezuti, Neville E. Strumpf, Lois K. Evans, Jeane Ann Grisso and Greg Maislin


A major reason cited for continued restraint use in American nursing homes is the widely held belief that restraint reduction will lead to fall-related incidents and injuries.


This study represents an.analysis of data collected in a clinical trial of interventions aimed at reducing the use of restraints in nursing homes. Two different designs were employed to test the relationship between restraint reduction and falls/injuries. First, multiple logistic regression was used to compare fall/injury rates in subjects who had restraints removed (n = 38) to those who continued to be restrained (n = 88); second, survival analysis was employed to test the relationship between physical restraint removal and falls/injuries at the institutional level by comparing fall/injury rates among three nursing homes (n = 633) with varying rates of restraint reduction.


Based on the multiple logistic regression analysis, there was no indication of increased risk of falls or injuries with restraint removal. Moreover, restraint removal significantly decreased the chance of minor injuries due to falls (adjusted odds ratio: 0.3, 95% CI: 0.1,0.9; p < .05). The survival analysis demonstrated that the nursing home that had the least restraint reduction (11%) had a 50% higher rate of falls (p < .01) and more than twice the rate of fallrelated minor injuries (p < .001) when compared to the homes with 23% and 56% restraint reduction, respectively.


Physical restraint removal does not lead to increases in falls or subsequent fall-related injury in older nursing home residents.

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