Loved ones sometimes need physical restraints to prevent falls or recover from a medical procedure. It is also true that there are sometimes medical reasons to prescribe restraints. But too often nursing homes use restraints as punishment or a way to restrict movement of residents. This is against federal law. In fact, except for emergency situations, residents may only be restrained with their consent (or the consent of their legal representative) or under a physician’s orders.
Physical restraints are defined as “any manual method, physical or mechanical device, material, or equipment attached or adjacent to [a] nursing home resident’s body that physically restricts the resident’s freedom of movement, physical activity, or normal access to the resident’s body.” Obvious examples include leg and arm straps, while less obvious examples include the use of food trays and lap cushions.
Nursing home staff should carefully weigh the loss of freedom against an increase in safety before restraining a resident. Too often caregivers restrain residents instead of providing the extra attention and care that the facility promised and that would allow him or her to stay independent.
Importantly, restraints do not actually prevent resident accidents such as falls. In some cases, restraints even increase the risk of fall related accidents and deaths. Restraints also increase the risk the resident develops a bedsore, or suffers from dehydration or malnutrition. Moreover, restraints can cause severe psychological damage and adversely affect a resident’s quality of life. For all these reasons, physical restraints should be used in only the most severe circumstances, and only with the resident’s express permission or by a doctor’s order. Put simply, restraints should not be a substitute for the care and attention the facility promised the resident.
Nursing home negligence claims involve many complex legal and medical issues. Having the right attorney is essential to recovering what you deserve. Our Kansas City nursing home abuse law firm will do everything possible to assist you in obtaining the maximum compensation you deserve. More importantly, our Kansas City nursing home abuse law firm will serve as an ally that will give you and your family the respect and compassion it needs. Contact us for your free consultation today.