Despite the worldwide promotion of a "restraint-free" model of care due to the questionable ethical and legal issues and the many adverse physical and psychosocial effects of physical restraints, their use remains relatively high, especially in the intensive care setting. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to explore the experiences of nurses using physical restraints in the intensive care setting. Semi-structured interviews with 20 nurses working in intensive care units for at least three years, were conducted, recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Then, the transcripts were analyzed according to the qualitative descriptive approach by Sandelowsky and Barroso (2002). Six main themes emerged: (1) definition of restraint, (2) who decides to restrain? (3) reasons behind the restraint use, (4) physical restraint used as the last option (5) family involvement, (6) nurses' feelings about restraint. Physical restraint evokes different thoughts and feelings. Nurses, which are the professionals most present at the patient's bedside, have been shown to be the main decision-makers regarding the application of physical restraints. Nurses need to balance the ethical principle of beneficence through this practice, ensuring the safety of the patient, and the principle of autonomy of the person.
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