Physical and Chemical Restraints (an Update)

Pilar Guerrero, Mark B Mycyk
Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America 2020, 38 (2): 437-451
Violent, combative and intoxicated patients are a common problem in the emergency department, and the emergency physician must be prepared to control the situation safely and effectively when a patient begins to exhibit dangerous behavior. This article reviews initial de-escalation techniques to reduce the need for patient restraint. It then details the 2 types of restraints (physical and chemical) and the clear indications for each type. The high-risk nature of utilization of restraints is reviewed, as well as the means by which to ensure patient and staff safety and decrease adverse outcomes.

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