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The Physical Restraint Debate: A Review Of Risks and Benefits Associated With Use In Residential Treatment Facilities For Children and Adolescents

27 July 2007


The issue of whether to use physical restraint with children and adolescents in residential facilities has not been studied extensively. Because of this lack of information, mental health workers may use physical restraint without full awareness of its associated risks, or may unknowingly use the procedure in ways that result in adverse outcomes. It has been concluded that the use of this procedure is a life-or-death issue, and as such, more information is needed to evaluate the appropriateness of its use. A review of the accumulated research related to restraint use in residential treatment facilities for children and adolescents is presented in this paper for the purpose of informing effective decision making around whether to use this procedure in the management of violent child and adolescent behavior. Following the review of literature are suggestions for further analysis, as well as suggestions for improved outcomes.


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