Physical Restraint Use More Likely for Black Adults in Emergency Departments

Black patients more likely to be restrained than White and non-Black patients
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- In adult emergency departments, physical restraint is uncommon but occurs more often among Black patients than White and non-Black patients, according to a review published online Sept. 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Vidya Eswaran, M.D., from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the risk for physical restraint use in adult emergency departments, specifically regarding patients of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Ten articles met the inclusion criteria, representing 2,557,983 patient encounters and 24,030 events of physical restraint (0.94 percent).

The researchers found that Black patients were more likely to be restrained than White patients (relative risk, 1.31) and all non-Black patients (relative risk, 1.27) in the meta-analysis. With respect to ethnicity, compared with non-Hispanic patients, Hispanic patients were less likely to be restrained (relative risk, 0.85).

"Race and ethnicity-based disparities in the use of physical restraints in the adult emergency department exist, with an increased risk of physical restraint use in Black patients compared with White patients as well as to all non-Black emergency department patients," the authors write. "Emergency departments should carefully consider, and take steps to address, how racism may affect disparate use of restraints among adult patients."

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