Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 4, P175-185, August 2006

The Conceptualization of Physical Restraint as a Nursing-Sensitive Adverse Outcome in Acute Care Psychiatric Treatment Settings

  • Angela M. Gerolamo
    Address reprint requests to Angela M. Gerolamo MSN, APRN, BC, Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, RM 325, 420 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
    Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
    Search for articles by this author
      The occurrence of physical restraint episodes in psychiatric settings is a major public health issue because the therapeutic utility of this form of behavior control has not been substantiated empirically. The purpose of this article was to examine the extant literature to determine if evidence supports the conceptualization of a physical restraint episode as an adverse client outcome that is sensitive to the organization of nursing care in psychiatric settings. An adapted version of the Quality Health Outcomes Model (Mitchell, P. H., Ferketich, S., & Jennings, B. M. (1998). Quality Health Outcomes Model. Image Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 30, 43-46) was used as the conceptual model to guide this inquiry. The databases Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Health and Psychosocial Instruments, HealthSTAR/Ovid and Healthstar, Medline, and psychINFO were searched from 1990 to 2005. There are 101 sources in this review. Evidence strongly suggests that a physical restraint episode is an adverse outcome that is sensitive to the organization of nursing care. A systematic exploration of the specific structures and processes of the organization that affect adverse outcomes, such as physical restraint episodes, is lacking in the United States.
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