The use of physical restraints for patients suffering from dementia

Chava Weiner, Nili Tabak*, Rebecca Bergman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This study reviews the ethical dilemmas of nursing staff about using restraints on patients suffering from dementia in two types of health care settings in Israel: internal medicine wards of three general hospitals; and psychogeriatric wards of three nursing homes. The nurses' level of knowledge about the Patient's Rights Law, the Israeli Code of Ethics, and the guidelines on restraints was analysed. The purposes of restraints were defined as beneficial to: (1) the patient; (2) other patients; or (3) the institution. The concept was evaluated in a realistic situation (expressing views of daily practice) and in an idealistic situation (expressing personal and professional beliefs and values). It was shown that nurses in internal medicine wards of general hospitals agreed more with the use of restraints than those in psychogeriatric wards in nursing homes. Differences were more pronounced when restraints were beneficial to the institution. In addition, nurses working in psychogeriatric wards of nursing homes had more knowledge about the guidelines on restraints and were less inclined than their counterparts to agree with the use of restraints for the benefit of other patients or the institution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-525
Number of pages14
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003


  • Dementia
  • Ethical decision making
  • Ethical dilemma
  • Human rights
  • Physical restraints


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