The use of bed restraints is a delicate issue for healthcare providers. Thousands of patients in U.S. hospitals are tied to their beds every day. Oftentimes that’s done to ensure they don’t pull out crucial lines to respirators or intravenous medication. Providers must follow strict guidelines and time limits in order to do so.

Shortly after merging into the Sentara system in 2013, Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital in South Boston, Va. discovered that its use of patient restraints did not fall under best practice guidelines. This was called to its attention by its accrediting body, DNV GL Healthcare.

Hospital staff immediately set about resolving this issue, which was detailed in DNV GL Healthcare’s latest case study, “Paring Back on Patient Restraints.” Sentara staff redesigned its patient restraint policy by leveraging ISO 9001, a quality system originally created by the manufacturing sector that DNV GL adapted for hospitals and healthcare systems.

As a result, Sentara Halifax was able to reduce the use of patient restraints by more than 95 percent. The number of extubations by patients dropped by two-thirds. The patient length of stay on ventilators dropped as well.

“This was huge for us,” said Nicole Spence, MSN, RN, Sentara Halifax’s manager of patient services.

The case study is available from the DNV GL website and may be downloaded here.

As the nation’s second-largest healthcare accreditation body, Anders Lindgren, DNV GL Business Assurance North America Regional Manager, cites its “kinder and gentler” approach and its year-round partnership strategy as some of the keys to successfully accrediting hospitals and boosting quality improvement at a rate of 20% growth year over year. The majority of hospitals choose accreditation in order to be certified by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to receive federal funds and reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Hundreds of hospitals across the United States have switched to DNV GL Healthcare over the past decade. The organization accredits over 500 hospitals in 49 states.