A physical restraint is any device or material that is used to restrict a person’s movement, including belts, bedrails, soft ties, and lap trays or tables. Many of these physical restraints are used to restrict the movement of nursing home residents. In some cases, using a physical restraint may be necessary, but other times it is not. When is the use of physical restraints considered nursing home abuse? Here’s what you need to know:

When Physical Restraints Are Necessary

Nursing homes are allowed to use physical restraints when they are necessary in order to keep nursing home residents and staff safe. The nursing home must consult a doctor, who will determine if it is necessary to use physical restraints after assessing the resident’s physical and emotional state. The doctor may also review the medications that the resident is taking before determining whether physical restraints are needed.

For example, a doctor may think it is necessary to use physical restraints if a resident who is already at a high risk of falling is disoriented from medication. In this case, the resident may need to be restrained to ensure that she does not attempt to walk on her own.

When Physical Restraints Are Unnecessary

A nursing home facility cannot use physical restraints for disciplinary purposes or to make employees’ jobs more convenient. For instance, if a resident breaks one of the facility’s rules, the facility cannot physically restrain the resident to punish her. The facility also cannot physically restrain someone so the staff doesn’t have to check on her or worry about what she’s doing. If physical restraints are used in this manner, it is considered abuse.

Nursing Homes Must Follow Certain Rules

There are certain rules that must be followed when a nursing home uses physical restraints on a resident. First, the nursing home must leave a call switch or device within reaching distance whenever a resident is restrained. This will allow the resident to call for help in the event of an emergency.

The staff must also check on restrained nursing home residents every 15 minutes to make sure they are comfortable. Every two hours during the daylight hours, the restraints must be removed so the resident has an opportunity to change positions, go to the restroom, eat, or drink. If these rules are not followed, the use of physical restraints could be considered either nursing home abuse or neglect.

Is your loved one being illegally restrained in a nursing home? If so, contact the personal injury attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. Our first priority is making sure your loved one is not in any danger. Then, we will aggressively pursue compensation from the negligent parties responsible for your loved one’s injuries. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.