Deaths caused by physical restraints

Steven H. Miles, Patrick Irvine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


A retrospective analysis of 122 deaths caused by vest and strap restraints found that most victims were women (78%) and a median age of 81. Victims were found suspended from chairs (42%) or beds (58%); 83% were in nursing homes. Detailed analysis of 19 cases showed that all were demented, 13 had impulsive or involuntary movements, and 14 had recently tried to escape from a restraint or been found in a dangerous position while restrained. Restraints are an underrecognized, underreported, avoidable, and proximate cause of at least 1 of every 1, 000 nursing home deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)762-766
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1992


  • Dementia
  • Huntington’s Chorea
  • Long-term care
  • Nursing homes


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