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Restraints Should Only Be Used With Caution And A Valid Reason

At the Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A., we understand the sensitivity and urgency involving all nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Any case involving injuries due to the use of Restraints is a very serious matter.

Some of initial questions we ask include:

  • Did any staff member at the nursing home or adult care facility, including nurses and doctors, use restraints on you or someone you love?
  • Was a physicians order written?
  • Did you approve it?
  • Is it your opinion the restraints were used for control?
  • Any other reasons why they would have used restraints?

The Use Of Restraints And Nursing Home Resident Rights

The use of restraints – whether physical or chemically induced – are not to be used for the convenience of Nursing Home staff or physicians. Furthermore, physical and chemical restraints are not to be administered for disciplinary reasons or “convenience”, either. The use of restraints is only permissible in cases of emergency and only after a written physicians order. These orders are in effect for no longer than 24 hours and require the approval of family members.

The number of restraints cases has decreased. However, it is still a common form of nursing home abuse and neglect. Some characteristics of residents that may be restrained are:

  • Daily living activities may be limited
  • Cognitive skills and performance may have eroded
  • Take antipsychotic medications
  • May move around at night and other times while monitored less
  • History of falls
  • Suffer from dementia

Nursing homes, like any other business, may suffer from staffing issues. Some understaffed nursing homes and adult care facilities have used restraints as a form of convenience for them. If you want to evaluate nursing home and adult care facilities, you can visit the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation.

The Negative Effects Of Restraints And Injuries That Can Result

Using restraints can cause emotional, mental, and physical problems, including:

  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Decreased ability to think and process information
  • Decreased activities of daily living
  • Increased agitation and irritability
  • Loss of dignity and less independence
  • Depression
  • Urinary problems (incontinence or retention) and chronic constipation
  • Decreased muscle functionality – loss of muscle mass
  • Less bone density – bitter bones
  • Cardiopulmonary functions lessened
  • Contractures (muscles shorten and make it harder to stretch and move)
  • Swelling, increased vein pressure and fluid retention
  • Bedsores
  • Death
  • Compression
  • Suffocation
  • Strangulation

Types Of Restraints

Nursing homes and adult care facilities use a number of different types of restraints. Some include:

  • Gerichairs
  • Vests designed to tie/restrain residents to their chairs/beds
  • Wrist/ankle restraints
  • Chemical restraints
  • Bedrails
  • Lap buddies
  • Tabletops
  • Any device or method designed to limit movement

How To Prevent Restraint Injuries

  • Perform a thorough review the resident’s care plan. Any known instances of injuries due to use of restraints? Why were the restraints used in the first place? Any foreseeable issues for increased risk with you or your loved one? Do you or a loved one have an increased risk of falling, sitting, wandering, etc.?
  • Are there any known side effects regarding any of the prescribed medications you or a loved one are prescribed?
  • The law requires the doctor to write an order for restraints. All details regarding the duration and circumstances under must be noted and must have prior approval before administering.
  • Review any order written. After review, inquire to the benefit to you or your loved one. Also, ask about the causes and effects – positive and negative to the usage. After the discussion, you should be convinced of the use or not. If you are not convinced, contact the authorities and governing bodies that regulate. A link is provided above to the governing body.

Learn More About Your Loved One’s Rights In A Free Initial Consultation

If you or a loved one has experienced restraint injuries while at a nursing home or adult care facility, please contact us today for help.

Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect


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