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Types of Restraint

Types of Restraint - Clinical Hub, Patient Safety, Nursing Quality and Safety Resources, Restraint Resources and Tips


Start with the least restrictive device. If it is ineffective, then proceed to a more restrictive device. If a limb restraint is needed (and the patient is non-violent), start by restraining only one limb at a time (typically the dominant limb). Continually reassess the need for the restraint, and decrease the level and number of restraints when possible. Consider trying less restrictive restraint types with every RN monitoring session. Restraints from least to most restrictive:

  1. Lap belts (restricted use to inpatient psychiatry only)
  2. Mitts (untied)
  3. Enclosure bed (restricted use to AFCH only)
  4. Elbow immobilizers
  5. Wrist and ankle restraints (soft, canvas/Velcro and locked)
  6. Vests (restricted use to neurosurgical ICU, neurosurgical general care unit and post anesthesia care uint (PACU)

Least Restrictive to Most Restrictive Interventions

Restraint guidelines chart