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Program reduces use of physical restraints in nursing homes, study shows

May 24, 2012
by Sandra Hoban
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A new German study found that the risk of falls for nursing home residents could be reduced by using a multifaceted intervention.

Thirty-six nursing homes were split into controlled and intervention groups during six-month controlled trial. The use of restraints was nearly evenly divided between the groups (control group: 31 percent; and the intervention group: 32 percent) at the beginning of the study.

The intervention group participated in a 24-step program intended to reduce the use of restraints. The rate of falls dropped significantly (23 percent) in the intervention group compared to a 29 percent decrease in the control group.

The intervention program included group sessions and additional training and support materials for staff, residents and families. Findings showed that this group used fewer restraints on their residents.

Another study found that U.S. nursing home residents with either Alzheimer’s disease or dementia were more likely to be physically restrained and less likely to have bed rails than residents without the disease.

The German study was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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