Making decisions about restraints

The preferred choice is to use no restraints. A physical, chemical or environmental restraint should not be used as a substitute for safe and well-designed environments or for the proper care and management of a person with dementia.

One of the most successful strategies for dealing with difficult behaviours without using restraints is to use a problem-solving approach.

Problem-solving approach

  1. Identify the problem: Take a step back and objectively pinpoint the problem.

  2. Analyze the problem: Is the person trying to communicate something? What factors might be contributing to the person's reaction? What is happening and why? Could the person be reacting to something or someone in the environment?

  3. List possible strategies: Think of all the ways to possibly solve the problem.

  4. Choose a strategy: Weigh the pros and cons of each strategy. Select one.

  5. Take action: Put the chosen strategy into effect.

  6. Assess the results: Did the chosen strategy work? If not, why not? Should another strategy be tried

Sometimes the first strategy is not successful. Or it may work the first time, but not the next. Talking to other caregivers, a doctor or someone from the local Alzheimer Society may explain why the strategy was unsuccessful. They may have suggestions for other possible approaches.

When you are considering minimal restraints, carefully measure and monitor the positive and negative consequences for the person with the disease. When you do use restraints, make sure the physical and mental well-being of the person being restrained is not compromised.


Last Updated: 11/08/2017