A study in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) could mean a much greater quality of life for nursing home residents around the world. The study, entitled “Effect of a Guideline-Based Multicomponent Intervention on Use of Physical Restraints in Nursing Homes: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, was designed to determine whether new techniques could reduce the use of physical restraints in nursing homes.
The nursing homes used in the study were all heavy users of physical restraints. More than 1 in 5 residents in the facilities needed to be physically restrained using bed rails, belts, and tables with fixed chairs.
As is standard in scientific studies, the nursing homes were divided into a control group and an intervention group. In the control group, business continued as usual. In the intervention group, however, group sessions for all staff in the evidence-based theory of planned behavior were held and promoted.
Put simply, this study was not about changing the residents at all. The theory of planned behavior is about changing the behavior of the healthcare professionals. By influencing the intentions of the healthcare professional, their behavior can be modified. In this case, the information provided to the nursing homes was designed to change their attitudes about the usage of physical restraints, and change their behavior as a result.
After 6 months, the nursing homes that received the intervention showed an 8% drop in all types of physical restraint usage. In addition, there was no increase in the number of accidental falls and injuries. After all, it serves no purpose to use fewer physical restraints if the number of injuries and falls increases.
The use of physical restraints in nursing homes needs to be reduced for many reasons. We all value our freedom, and to be tied to a chair or bed must be disturbing and frightening to say the very least. As an attorney who concentrates in nursing home abuse and neglect, I’ve see how physical restraints make the staff or a nursing home complacent. Being immobilized often leads to bedsores or other infections and injuries.
If you have a loved one that you feel is being unnecessarily restrained and injured in an Illinois nursing home, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case. At my law offices we never charge a fee unless we take, and win, your case.