Alternatives to Restraint

Suggested restraint alternatives & least restrictive forms of restraint.

  • Beds that lower to the floor or a mattress in place next to the bed
  • Encourage family members or organise volunteers to visit at 'high risk' times
  • Consistency in staff and routines
  • Limit the number of staff attending to the person
  • Reduce noise levels
  • Review lighting to ensure it's not too bright or too dim as this may lead to misinterpretation of objects
  • Ongoing explanation of procedures
  • Use of distraction/diversional activities
  • Calm voice & soothing music
  • Assessing and treating problems causing agitation - e.g.; UTI, dehydration
  • Concave mattress
  • Water noodles as an inexpensive alternative to concave mattress and can be one side or both
  • Foam wedges to improve position & comfort
  • Bed poles/ monkey bars for bed mobility
  • Cot sides that can be released by the individual (after explanation of cot side risks)
  • Half length cot sides
  • If a seat belt is necessary, a velcro belt would be first choice rather than a clip belt
  • Non-slip mats, e.g.; by the bed
  • 'Stop' signs, 'No Exit' signs, strips across in front of the exit door - to prevent absconding
  • Snoozelin therapy
  • Individual behaviour management strategies
  • Aromatherapy - must be prescribed by a qualified clinical aromatherapist
  • Validation therapy
  • Reminiscence therapy.

References and recommended reading

Australasian Auditing & Certification Services Pty Ltd (2000). 3 in 1 Program: Restraint ? Behavioural and Medication Management. Training Course, Rowville, attended 11th December 2000.

Stone, R.G. (1996). Gerontology Manual-23. University of Puget Sound.

Tideiksaar, R. (1998) Preventing Falls, Avoiding Restraints. Untie the Elderly, Newsletter, Vol.10:No.2 [available online July 2002]