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Unnecessary restraint use is nursing home abuse

| Aug 31, 2017 | Nursing Home Neglect

When an elderly person has physical ailments that make it dangerous to live alone, these health issues could indicate a need for the assistance provided in a New York nursing home. While some people may shy away from this move for as long as possible, Medicare.gov points out that a resident has many protected freedoms to ensure that quality of life does not suffer. One of those freedoms specifically noted is the freedom from restraints.

Some people may need physical restraints to prevent them from falling out of bed, or from a chair or wheelchair. It is legal for staff to use a restraint as far as is necessary for a resident’s protection and/or treatment. However, losing the freedom to move about can cause serious distress, and residents have the right to refuse them if there is no chance that they will hurt themselves or someone else. Staff must not ever use a restraint to make it more convenient to care for a patient, or as punishment.

Because restraint use can cause injuries and health problems, the national campaign, Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes, provides information about how nursing home staff may reduce the use of restraints. The key is to recognize that restraints are not often necessary.

Many times, residents are restrained as a means of safety because they become agitated. However, there are often ways that a staff member may address the agitation rather than simply restraining the resident. For example, agitation may be because of restlessness, hunger, boredom or pain, and these could be addressed by activities, a snack, conversation or medication, respectively. Each resident should have an individualized care plan, and any calming methods that have been proven successful could be noted so that others may refer to it. 

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