Disparities and Variables Associated With Physical Restraint for Acute Agitation in a Nonpsychiatric Emergency Department

Zaira Khalid, Michael Fana, Richelle Payea, Kyle Rutledge, Bilal Shah, Furhut Janssen, Neli Ragina, Stephen J. Zyzanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine associations between the rate of physical restraint and demographic variables such as body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, sex, and age in the emergency department (ED) along with clinical variables such as various psychiatric diagnoses and medications. Methods: This 6-month (October 1, 2016-March 30, 2017) retrospective chart review was conducted in the ED of a community hospital, which is also a teaching institution for medical students and residents but does not have access to psychiatry consultations via phone or in person. A total of 165 agitated patients were included in the study. Agitated patients who were restrained were compared to those who were not physically restrained. Results: Of the patients, 112 (68%) were physically restrained, and those not physically restrained were included as controls (n = 53, 32%). Younger age (P = .03), lower BMI (P = .04), intoxication (P = .001), preexisting diagnosis of depression (P = .02), and antipsychotics as a home medication (P = .03) were associated with physical restraints. In the ED, administration of haloperidol and olanzapine was associated with physical restraints. Current benzodiazepine prescription (P = .001), ED administration of ketamine (P = .001), and ED administration of diazepam (P = .001) were more common in those not physically restrained. Conclusions: Risk factors for physical restraints can be used to identify high-risk patients early, and other treatments along with behavioral and environmental modifications may then be utilized. Further research to develop protocols using nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic measures to minimize use of restraints is required.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe primary care companion for CNS disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 21 2019


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