Nursing homes sometimes use restraints to control residents who are disruptive, have a history of falls, or who have mobility, cognitive or functional disabilities that make them need frequent assistance or supervision. Using restraints for these purposes is an improper and unlawful practice.
The Federal Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 says nursing home residents have the right to be free from physical or chemical restraints imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience, or that are otherwise not required to treat the resident’s medical symptoms.
In some situations, nursing home patients may be properly restrained to ensure that they do not hurt themselves or others. However, nursing home residents should not be subject to physical, chemical (drugs) or psychological restraints as punishment or for the staff’s convenience.
If you recognize the signs of a nursing home resident having been restrained, you should ask staff and/or management why such measures are necessary and what options have been tried other than restraints. You should also consult a nursing home neglect and abuse attorney about your loved one’s rights and the possibility that he or she is being subjected to unlawful abuse.