Development of the Video Assessment of Propensity to Use Emergency Restraints Scale (VAPERS): results of the VAPERS Study Group. Academic Article uri icon


  • Emergency physicians (EPs) may disagree on when or whether patients need restraints. There is no good objective measure of the likelihood of EPs to restrain patients.To 1) develop a scale to determine the likelihood that an EP would restrain a patient, 2) develop subscale scoring, and 3) determine a shortened version that correlates highly with the full scale.This was a prospective cross sectional study. The Video Assessment of Propensity to use Emergency Restraints Scale (VAPERS), consisting of 17 scenarios utilizing actors, was videotaped to produce a research video assessment tool. The VAPERS was designed by development experts to reflect the spectrum of patients who are considered for restraint in an emergency department. The VAPERS was piloted among a 22-member pilot panel of EPs (faculty and residents). The pilot panel was asked to determine the degree to which each video patient possessed the following patient characteristics: medical instability, trauma, belligerence, agitation, and altered mental status. Each "degree of characteristic" was measured on a separate 100-mm visual analog scale. Participants were then asked whether or not they would restrain each patient and whether the patient exhibited the potential to harm him- or herself or others. VAPERS subscales were developed for the likelihood to restrain patients with each of the patient characteristics. Spearman correlations were used for all comparisons. Linear regression was used to determine which patient characteristics were most related to likelihood to restrain and to develop a reduced scale to predict the overall likelihood to restrain.The overall VAPERS score ranged from 0 to 100, with a median of 50 (interquartile range [IQR], 24-88). The visual analog scale results of how likely each video patient possessed specific characteristics were as follows: medical instability ranged from 0 to 100 (median, 32; IQR, 12-64), trauma ranged from 0 to 69 (median, 0; IQR, 0-31), belligerence ranged from 20 to 93 (median, 28; IQR, 14-63), agitation ranged from 3 to 84 (median, 52; IQR, 23-72), and altered mental status ranged from 1 to 93 (median, 29; IQR, 16-69). Linear regression indicated that two characteristic variables (danger to self and degree of agitation) in the video scenarios were highly correlated (0.87) with overall likelihood to restrain. Based on the results, the authors developed a shortened video assessment tool consisting of five of the original videos that were highly correlated (R = 0.94) with the full VAPERS scale on overall likelihood to restrain.The VAPERS scale covers a wide range of important variables in emergency situations. It successfully measured likelihood to restrain in this pilot study for overall situations, and for subgroups, based on patient characteristics. A shortened five-video VAPERS also successfully measured the overall likelihood to restrain.

publication date

  • June 2007