The thought of your loved one being restrained in a nursing home is heartbreaking.  Nursing home patients are frequently restrained when it is not necessary, which has caused this topic to be the center of many heated debates.

Physical restraints include belts, vests, pelvic ties, specialized chairs, wrist restraints, lap belts and bed side rails.  The overuse of such restraints is cruel and can put the nursing home resident in danger.  When restraints are used in nursing homes, injuries frequently occur.  Restraint injuries include:

• Broken bones
• Bedsores
• Bruises
• Suffocation
• Emotional stress

Even though the use of physical restraints in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities is not prohibited by law, they are often overused or utilized for the wrong purpose.  For example, restraints should not be used as punishment or for convenience.  Nursing homes that are understaffed are often guilty of restraining patients to make their work easier. 

Physical restraints in assisted living facilities and nursing homes should only be used to treat a medical condition.  If a restraint is needed for the nursing home patient, the facility should be careful when determining how it will be used and should take measures to protect the patient’s safety.  An assessment should be made for that particular nursing home patient before using the physical restraint.  The assessment should include a review of the resident’s history, physical examination, environmental characteristics and if all alternatives to the restraint have been explored.

Restraints are sometimes necessary to protect the nursing home patient, but they should never be misused.  A doctor should be the one to recommend the restraint and it should only be used if it will assist the resident in reaching a higher level of functioning.  According to the American Medical Directors’ Association, examples of appropriate restraint include the following:

• “Using a restraint for several days to allow a confused resident to receive essential intravenous fluids or medications.
• Using positioning devices such as special seat cushions that help the resident to sit properly but that may not allow the resident to get up without help.”

If you have discovered that your family member is being unnecessarily restrained by the nursing home, you need to contact a Kentucky nursing home abuse attorney immediately.  Certain actions may be needed to protect your loved one from further abuse and/or nursing home neglect.  Contact the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Gray and White Law at 1-502-210-8942 or 1-888-450-4456 for legal advice.  We are experienced in handling nursing home abuse cases in Kentucky.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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