• Article

The use of physical restraint in patients with cerebral contusion

Behavioral problems resulting in the use of physical restraint is a clinical problem seen in the acute phase of recovery from cerebral contusion. However, little is known about the frequency of physical restraint, factors that might predispose to its use, the pattern of adjunctive psychotropic drugs used or the outcome for patients needing this form of management. In order to examine these issues, a retrospective study of all patients (N = 34) admitted with cerebral contusion to a neurosurgical service over a one-year period was undertaken. Physical restraint was used in twelve patients (35%) for an average length of 4.3 days. The use of physical restraint was associated with presumptive evidence of alcohol abuse or dependence but not with level of consciousness on admission. Restrained patients were frequently prescribed psychotropic drugs during hospitalization. Patients requiring physical restraint stayed in hospital nearly twice as long as those not needing restraint. Close attention to the identification and treatment of alcohol problems and their complications in this population may reduce the need for physical restraint and shorten length of hospital stay


Edlund, M., Goldberg, RJ., & Morris, PL. (1991). The use of physical restraint in patients with cerebral contusion. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 21(2), 173-182.