Effectiveness of the Weighted Blanket With Psychiatric Patients in the Emergency Department: A Pilot Study
BACKGROUND Restraint and seclusion continue to be used with patients demonstrating aggressive and violent behaviors while in the emergency department and as inpatients in behavioral health (BH) units. The use of sensory interventions such as the weighted blanket (WB) is garnering interest as alternatives to aid in managing anxiety, anger, and aggressive behaviors. Reports of the effectiveness of the WB have primarily been anecdotal, and results of research with children have been mixed. Only one study has been conducted with the WB with adults on an inpatient psychiatric unit. OBJECTIVES The aim of this pilot study was to assess the effectiveness of the WB by determining whether it decreases anxiety and/or anger in adult emergency department patients with preexisting psychiatric diagnoses. METHODS The study used a quasi-experimental, nonequivalent control group design with pre- and posttests for anxiety and anger. The intervention was a 15-pound WB. Participants ( N = 15) were in one of three groups, which included no weighted blanket (NWB), WB for 15 minutes, or WB for 30 minutes. RESULTS All three groups showed a decrease in anxiety and anger scores. However, participants in the WB groups had a greater decrease in anxiety and anger posttest scores. CONCLUSIONS The small sample size in this study did not allow for the determination of any differences between groups on anxiety or anger scores that could be viewed as a significant finding.