My mom has dementia and wanders around, can a nursing home use physical or chemical restraints on her?

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Nursing Home Lawyers in Tysons, VA Can Help

nursing home lawyers Tysons VARecently the media has shed light on the overuse of chemical and/or physical restraint on elders in a nursing home and this is one of the many reasons that the need for nursing home lawyers Tysons, VA families can rely on is on the rise. Most of these elders suffered from dementia, alzheimer’s, or other health problems that caused them to wander, laugh or cry excessively, or be “disruptive”. Some of these elders experienced serious harm from being restrained, and now many family members are wanting to know how much is too much?

My mom has dementia and wanders around, can a nursing home use physical or chemical restraints on her?

The information contained in this article is general and not intended to be legal advice. If you have a loved one in a nursing home in Virginia or in its surrounding communities, it may be in your best interest to discuss your situation with a law firm that has nursing home lawyers who are licensed to practice in Tysons, VA.

Kinds of Nursing Home Restraints

The following are two methods of restraining patients in nursing homes:

Physical Restraint: A manual method that involves the assistance of physical strength, material (such as a straight jacket or a sheet), equipment, or a mechanical device attached or adjacent to the elder’s body. This results in the inability to move freely and creates a hindrance for the patient to be able to move normally.

Chemical Restraint: This involves various drugs that are used for convenience or discipline rather than their medical purpose. Nursing homes might use chemical restraints when an elder is considered to be unruly or aggressive. A chemical restraint does not include any medication prescribed for an illness or to protect the elder from self harm. Common drugs used as a chemical restraint include antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedative-hypnotics, mood stabilizers, and anxiolytics.

While in some situations restraining a nursing home patient may be appropriate, talking to reputable nursing home lawyers from Tysons, VA may help you to understand whether or not this is in violation of your loved one’s rights and dignity.

Federal law prohibits any care facility, including nursing homes, from using physical or chemical restraints for the benefit of staff or as a punishment. This means that instead of using restraint on a patient who wanders, it is the duty of the nursing home to redirect the elder to a safe place. If this is not successful, electronic devices on their bed or chair should be fitted so that when they wander, staff is immediately alerted. Just because your elder has dementia does not mean he or she should be restrained.

Unfortunately the use of unnecessary physical or chemical restraint in a nursing home does happen. When this is found to be true, it could be considered elder abuse and it may be beneficial to you to enlist the help of nursing home lawyers in Tysons, VA who are experienced with successfully defending nursing home abuse victims from the illegal practices of negligent nursing homes.

If you are the family member of a loved one in a nursing home and suspect that restraint is going on, you should look for signs such as the following:

Physical Restraint

  • Straps, belts, or other devices used for restraining on the resident’s wheelchair, bed frame, or inside their room
  • Emotional changes such as frustration or anger
  • Bruises or marks on the elder’s wrists, arms, ankles, legs, or torso

Chemical Restraint

  • Unexplained lack of focus or sleepiness
  • Drastic changes in the elder’s personality
  • Involuntary body movements
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion

Physical and chemical restraint can cause a broad range of medical problems including, but not limited to:

  • Strangulation
  • Lacerations
  • Severe bruising
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Bedsores
  • Infection
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Death

If there is evidence of any of the above, or if your loved one is displaying any of these symptoms, discussing your loved one’s rights with reputable nursing home lawyers in Tysons, VA may help you to make more informed decisions about what steps you should take next.

Do You Believe Your Elder is Being Restrained by a Nursing Home?

If you have reason to believe your loved one is being unnecessarily restrained by physical or chemical restraints, you should consult a lawyer for further advice. Call the nursing home lawyers Tysons, VA can trust at Cohen & Cohen to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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