Skip to main content
Skip to page content

Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > Healthcare Facilities > Nursing Homes > Restraint Reduction Initiative

​  Caregiver and resident
Residents and families buttonCaregivers buttonFacilities buttonOversight button 


Restraint Reduction Initiative

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania along with the Health Care Financing Administration (now known as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) in 1996, initiated a Restraint Reduction Task Force to promote the removal of restraints, physical and chemical, from nursing home residents. 


The Task Force is comprised of representatives from the state and federal government, individuals from private industry, professional organizations, academia, and advocacy organizations. The Task Force has developed a detailed plan for reducing the use of restraints. Presently, there are 16 nursing homes across the commonwealth that were selected as training sites for the incorporation of the plan for restraint reduction. The restraint reduction plan emphasizes four areas: assisting the restraint reduction committees of the nursing homes to develop procedures that safely reduce and eliminate restraints; providing guidance in fine tuning assessment tools for staff to effectively evaluate restrained residents; educating staff, residents, and families on the benefits of restraint reduction; and supporting the nursing facilities through technical assistance for a quality program. The training sites present monthly educational programs for area nursing facilities to encourage least-restrictive interventions for the enhancement of the resident’s quality of life. Since the inception of the task force in 1996, Pennsylvania has significantly reduced the rate of restraint usage in nursing homes. 


The Department of Health started in 1996 a program that tracked physical and chemical restraint usage in nursing homes. Nursing homes that reported restraint usage of 20 percent and higher at the time of their recertification survey were requested to supply information to the department that demonstrated the least-restrictive treatment modality was in place for the residents. The response from the nursing home was reviewed for the following content: interventions for a least-restrictive environment; role of the interdisciplinary team in coordinating restraint reduction; implementation of the interdisciplinary team’s assessments; approaches utilized by professional staff and; the outcome of education and/or in-services to staff.  

Results underscore the success of the task force, nursing homes, and the department in creating a least-restrictive environment for nursing home residents within the commonwealth.

For further information, visit:



Want to File a concern or Complaint? 

Speak Up. We're Listening.
If you have a concern or complaint, call 800-254-5164 or visit the Nursing Home Complaints page.

For complaints regarding a Personal Care Home/Assisted Living Facility call: 1-877-401-8835 
For other inquiries, call (717)787-1816