Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


agitation, less-restrictive devices, patient safety, treatable causes of agitation



  1. Kirk, Anna Purcell MSN, RN
  2. McGlinsey, Andrea MSN, RN
  3. Beckett, Alanna BSN, RN
  4. Rudd, Patricia BSN, RN
  5. Arbour, Richard MSN, RN, FAAN


Purpose: Baseline restraint prevalence for surgical step-down unit was 5.08%, and for surgical intensive care unit, it was 25.93%, greater than the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) mean. Project goal was sustained restraint reduction below the NDNQI mean and maintaining patient safety.


Background/Rationale: Soft wrist restraints are utilized for falls reduction and preventing device removal but are not universally effective and may put patients at risk of injury. Decreasing use of restrictive devices enhances patient safety and decreases risk of injury.


Description: Phase 1 consisted of advanced practice nurse-facilitated restraint rounds on each restrained patient including multidisciplinary assessment and critical thinking with bedside clinicians including reevaluation for treatable causes of agitation and restraint indications. Phase 2 evaluated less restrictive mitts, padded belts, and elbow splint devices. Following a 4-month trial, phase 3 expanded the restraint initiative including critical care requiring education and collaboration among advanced practice nurses, physician team members, and nurse champions.


Evaluation and Outcomes: Phase 1 decreased surgical step-down unit restraint prevalence from 5.08% to 3.57%. Phase 2 decreased restraint prevalence from 3.57% to 1.67%, less than the NDNQI mean. Phase 3 expansion in surgical intensive care units resulted in wrist restraint prevalence from 18.19% to 7.12% within the first year, maintained less than the NDNQI benchmarks while preserving patient safety.


Interpretation/Conclusion: The initiative produced sustained reduction in acute/critical care well below the NDNQI mean without corresponding increase in patient medical device removal.


Implications: By managing causes of agitation, need for restraints is decreased, protecting patients from injury and increasing patient satisfaction. Follow-up research may explore patient experiences with and without restrictive device use.