Nursing Home Restraint Drop

The number of residents at nursing homes who were kept physically restrained dropped by more than half from 1999 to 2007, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

According to the Federal agency, the percentage of nursing home residents who were kept physically restrained declined from 11 percent in 1999 to 5 percent in 2007. Restraints include belts, vest, and wrist ties or bands, or special chairs or bedside rails to keep residents seated or in bed.

Overuse of physical restraints may reflect poor quality of care because residents who are restrained daily can become weak and lose daily functioning abilities. They are also more prone to pressure sores and other problems, such as chronic constipation or incontinence as well as emotional problems.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on information in “Long-stay nursing home residents who were physically restrained, United States, 1999 and 2007,” Table 11_1_17.1 appendix to the 2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report, which examines the disparities in Americans’ access to and quality of health care, with breakdowns by race, ethnicity, income, and education.

For other information, contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Overall good news. If you are looking into a facility make sure you ask about their restraint policy.