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A mixed-methods systematic review protocol to examine the use of physical restraint with critically ill adults and strategies for minimizing their use

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

L. Rose, C. Dale, O.M. Smith, L. Burry, G. Enright, D. Fergusson, S. Sinha, L. Wiesenfeld, T. Sinuff, S. Mehta

Original languageEnglish
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2016

King's Authors


Critically ill patients frequently experience severe agitation placing them at risk of harm. Physical restraint is common in intensive care units (ICUs) for clinician concerns about safety. However, physical restraint may not prevent medical device removal and has been associated with negative physical and psychological consequences. While professional society guidelines, legislation, and accreditation standards recommend physical restraint minimization, guidelines for critically ill patients are over a decade old, with recommendations that are non-specific. Our systematic review will synthesize evidence on physical restraint in critically ill adults with the primary objective of identifying effective minimization strategies.

Two authors will independently search from inception to July 2016 the following: Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, PROSPERO, Joanna Briggs Institute, grey literature, professional society websites, and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. We will include quantitative and qualitative study designs, clinical practice guidelines, policy documents, and professional society recommendations relevant to physical restraint of critically ill adults. Authors will independently perform data extraction in duplicate and complete risk of bias and quality assessment using recommended tools. We will assess evidence quality for quantitative studies using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach and for qualitative studies using the Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative Research (CERQual) guidelines. Outcomes of interest include (1) efficacy/effectiveness of physical restraint minimization strategies; (2) adverse events (unintentional device removal, psychological impact, physical injury) and associated benefits including harm prevention; (3) ICU outcomes (ventilation duration, length of stay, and mortality); (4) prevalence, incidence, patterns of use including patient and treatment characteristics and chemical restraint; (5) barriers and facilitators to minimization; (6) patient, family, and healthcare professional perspectives; (7) professional society-endorsed recommendations; and (8) evidence gaps and research priorities.

We will use our systematic review findings to produce updated guidelines on physical restraint use for critically ill adults and to develop a professional society-endorsed position statement. This will foster patient and clinician safety by providing clinicians, administrators, and policy makers with a tool to promote minimal and safe use of physical restraint for critically ill adults.

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