Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 March 2012
Background: Physical restraint use is common in institutional care for old people and mainly used to prevent falls, despite the fall-preventive effect of physical restraints being questioned in previous research. The aim of the study was to investigate the use of physical restraints in Sweden in 2000 and 2007.
Methods: Data were collected from two comparable census surveys conducted in all institutional care units for old people in 2000 (n = 3,669) and 2007 (n = 2,914). Information on residents’ characteristics and physical restraint use was collected using the Multi-Dimensional Dementia Assessment Scale (MDDAS).
Results: In 2000 16.0% (95% confidence interval (CI) 14.8%–17.2%) of the residents were restrained compared to 18.2% (95% CI 16.8%–19.6%) in 2007 (p = 0.017). Adjusting for residents' characteristics showed that residents in 2007 were more likely to be physically restrained, relative to the residents in 2000 (odds ratio (OR) 1.031, 95% CI 1.005–1.058, p = 0.017). In 2007 the residents had been restrained longer, and a higher proportion were restrained for unknown reasons.
Conclusions: Physical restraint use is still common. Moreover, the findings of this study suggest a small increase (OR 1.031) in the prevalence of physical restraint use from 2000 to 2007 adjusted for residents’ characteristics.