The importance of checking vital signs during and after restrictive interventions/manual restraint

A stage one alert has been issued to raise awareness of the importance of taking, recording and responding to vital signs where restraint has been used to manage a person’s behaviour if they are at risk to themselves or others.

Healthcare professionals should follow existing guidance on positive interventions to reduce the risk of self-harm, violence and aggression in healthcare settings, and restrictive interventions should only be used as the last resort. Restrictive interventions can cause psychological and physical harm and existing NICE guidance provides advice on a range of factors that must be considered to minimise the risk of harm to the patient during and following a period of manual restraint. This includes advice on checking vital signs after manual restraint and very specific advice on the nature, frequency and duration of vital signs checks that should be taken after rapid tranquilisation.

Providers of NHS-funded care have been asked to consider any action that needs to be taken locally to ensure vital signs are reliably recorded and acted on during and after restraint.

Patient safety alerts are shared rapidly with healthcare providers via the Central Alerting System (CAS).

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