"A physical restraint is any device, material, or equipment attached or adjacent to a resident's body, that the individual cannot remove easily, which keeps a resident from moving freely or prevents them normal access to their body. Examples of physical restraints include special types of vests, chairs with lap trays, lap belts, enclosed walkers. Bed rails (side rails) are also considered restraints in certain situations, but they are not used in the calculation of this measure."
Why is this important?: "Restraints should only be used when they are necessary as part of the treatment of a resident's medical condition. Only a doctor can order a restraint. Restraints should never be used to punish a resident or to make things easier for the staff. Facilities are not allowed to use restraints based solely on a family's request, unless there is a documented medical need and a doctor's order. A resident who is restrained daily can become weak, lose his or her ability to go to the bathroom by themselves, and develop pressure sores or other medical complications."
Taken from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services: Nursing Home Information for Consumers