June 2017

Can an NP order physical restraints?

Whether an NP can order restraints depends on the NP’s practice setting and related regulations.

For example, the Patient Restraints Minimization Act, 2001 specifies that only a physician or a person specified by regulation can order a restraint. Therefore in hospitals, only physicians are authorized to order restraints for patients because no regulations are in place under the Patient Restraints Minimization Act that lists other health care professionals.

However, under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, NPs who work in long-term care settings are authorized to order restraints.

Restraints are physical, chemical or environmental measures used to control the physical or behavioural activity of a person or a part of the person’s body.  As outlined in the Restraints practice standard, when restraining is required, nurses should use the least restrictive form of restraint to meet the client’s needs. Nurses need to assess and implement alternative measures before considering any form of restraint.

For more information, read the Restraints and Nurse Practitioner practice standards.

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