Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology

Physical Restraint in Psychiatric Care: Soon to Fall Out of Use?


Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopaedic Science, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy


Department of Clinical Sciences and Translational Medicine, TorVergata University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2021; 31: 468-473
DOI: 10.5152/pcp.2021.21237
Read: 2610 Downloads: 712 Published: 22 December 2021

International directives all recommend that using restraints on psychiatric patients should be avoided, yet scientific literature shows that such practices are still largely in use. This article aims to lay out strategies that could be put in place in order to gradually discard the use of restraints, particularly through a “restraint-free” approach, nursing, logistic–environmental pathways, and locally centered health care provision. All such tools have proven valuable for the purpose of safeguarding the health of psychiatric patients. Hence, the failure to put in place such measures may lead to litigation and lawsuits against physicians and particularly health care facilities. Undoubtedly, the ability to effectively implement such methods largely depends on the financial resources available, which in countries such as Italy are poorer than in others. Still, the risk of being sued and held professionally liable may constitute a factor in raising awareness among operators, facilities, and public health care management, leading to the implementation of policy changes aimed at minimizing the use of restraints.
Cite this article as: Vergallo GM, Gulino M. Physical restraint in psychiatric care: Soon to fall out of use? Psychiatr Clin Psychopharmacol. 2021;31(4):468-473.

EISSN 2475-0581