Restrictive Measures Overview

The Restrictive Measures process is a two-prong approval process that happens at the county level and then the state level.

Anytime a consumer’s team begins discussing strategies that could lead to implementing a Restrictive Measure, the support broker should contact the consumer’s assigned Dane County Developmental Disability Program Manager to initiate the process for handling the review and approval of the Restrictive Measure. For any consumer for whom a Restrictive Measures plan is being discussed, they must have a TIES consultant as part of their team. For general information purposes, Restrictive Measures tend to fall under the areas of: Isolation, Physical Restraints, and Protective Equipment (as defined in Wisconsin Guidelines and Requirements for Supporting People with Challenging Behaviors, ).


“Isolation” means the involuntary physical or social separation of an individual from others by the actions or direction of staff, contingent upon behavior. However, the following are not isolation and would not constitute a Restrictive Measure Application:

  1. Separation in order to prevent the spread of communicable disease; and
  2. Cool-down periods in an unlocked room when the person’s presence in the room is completely voluntary and there are no adverse consequences if the person refuses to go to the room.

Physical Restraints (including restraints used for medical purposes)

Physical restraints are any device, garment, or physical hold that:

  1. Restricts voluntary movement of a person’s body or access to any part of the body and
  2. Cannot be easily removed by the individual.

The exception to submitting a Restrictive Measures application when it comes to Physical Restraints, are restraints used to safely transport an individual in a vehicle. State and Federal seatbelt laws (seated and safely belted in a vehicle for transportation purposes) supersede Restrictive Measures approvals.

The exception to submitting a Restrictive Measures application when it comes to Medical Restraints, is if the person is being restrained by hospital or clinic medical staff while they are performing a medical procedure.

Protective Equipment

The application of a device to any part of a person’s body that:

  1. Prevents tissue damage or other physical harm due to person’s behavior and
  2. Cannot be easily removed by the individual.

Restrictive Measures applications are reviewed locally by the Restrictive Measures committee, every other month where the team will present the application. Once approved at the local level, it is then submitted to DHS for final, official approval. DHS-approved Restrictive Measures plans are renewed on an annual basis.