Restraining Patients as Part of Hospital Policy
Medicine and Law 1996; 15(3): 571-587
In Israel, senior citizens spend more time in hospitals than do members of any other age group. Chronic, age-related illnesses make the senior population especially dependent on the hospital system. Hospitalization, however, has its own risks-frequent and/or prolonged hospital stay can increase susceptibility to infections and complications, and can lead to impairment of mobility and of overall functioning. In this study, we'll be taking a look at the use of patient restraints in geriatric institutions. We'll look at the factors that induce attending staff to restrain elderly patients, the kinds of restraints used, and the feeling of the staff on this controversial issue. We'll also present the results of interviews with nursing services administrators in several geriatric institutions on the subject of restraining policies and procedures. Our findings indicate that procedures and policies regarding restraint vary from one institution to another. In some cases there are no clear written procedures, and patients are restrained without the written and signed order of a physician. We also found that attending staff are not sufficiently knowledgeable about the legal issues involved in patient restraint.
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