Research about restraint use in the home care setting is scarce. To gain insight into the use of restraints in home care from the perspective of nurses, the authors conducted a qualitative explorative study. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews of 14 nurses from Wit-Gele Kruis, a home-care organization in Flanders, Belgium were conducted and analyzed.
Findings revealed a lack of clarity among nurses about the concept of restraint in home care. Nurses reported that cognitively impaired older persons, who sometimes lived alone, were restrained or locked up without continuous follow-up. Families played a dominant role in the decision to use restraints to "provide relief to the family" and "keep the patient at home as long as possible to avoid admission to a nursing home."
Findings suggest that the issue of restraint use in home care is even more complex than in long-term residential care settings and acute hospital settings and raises questions about the ethical and legal responsibilities of home-care providers, nurses, and general practitioners.