Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Restraints Defined

  • Restraints, as defined by the College of Nurses of Ontario, are physical, environmental or chemical measures used to control the physical or behavioural activity of a person or a portion of his/her body.
    • Physical restraints limit a client’s movement. It includes a table fixed to a chair or a bed rail that cannot be opened by the client.
    • Environmental restraints control a client’s mobility. Examples include a secure unit or garden, seclusion or a time-out room.
    • Chemical restraints are any form of psychoactive medication used not to treat illness, but to intentionally inhibit a particular behaviour or movement.
Clinical Management
Promoting Safety: Alternative Approaches to the Use of Restraints
Background Information