Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Chicago, IL

Can You Sue for Use of Restraints in Nursing Homes?

Elderly nursing home resident lying in bed with a concerned look on his face. (707814483).

Residents deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

When we place our elderly loved ones in nursing homes, we expect their dignity and autonomy to be protected. Unfortunately, staff don’t always meet those expectations, and the consequences can be life-altering. One of the most dangerous types of nursing home abuse is misuse of restraints.

If your loved one was restrained and suffered harm in a nursing home, you may have legal recourse. However, the laws and regulations surrounding the use of restraints are complex. That’s why you need an attorney with extensive experience handling nursing home abuse cases in Chicago and beyond.

What is a restraint?

A restraint is any device or method used to restrict a nursing home resident’s movement, whether it is specifically designed for that purpose or not. The most common type of restraint used in nursing homes is a physical restraint; that is, a physical object that limits movement. Examples of devices that can be used as restraints include:

  • Soft ties
  • Hand mitts
  • Belts
  • Vests
  • Lap trays, tables, and cushions
  • Bed rails
  • Mattresses that sag in the middle
  • Specialized chairs
  • Tightly fitted sheets
  • Orthotic devices

The key is how these devices are used, not just the type of device. For example, bedrails can be used to help residents safely get in and out of bed, or turn over in bed, but they can also be used to block residents from getting out of bed. Likewise, lap trays serve an important purpose at mealtimes, but they can also be misused to stop residents from standing up.

Some nursing homes also use chemical restraints; that is, deliberately over-medicating residents to keep them docile. This is highly unethical and incredibly dangerous for residents, but it does happen.

Can nursing homes legally use restraints on residents?

Restraints are lawful in certain limited circumstances. For instance, it’s occasionally necessary to immobilize a resident to allow an injury, such as a broken bone, to heal or to administer medications. It’s also sometimes necessary to temporarily restrain residents who become violent or have other dangerous behaviors. But there are two key limits: first, like any other medical device or intervention, restraints must be prescribed by a doctor, and second, the facility should only use them when absolutely necessary, choosing the least restrictive option for the least amount of time possible.

Unfortunately, that’s not the reality in many nursing homes. Some facilities use restraints to enforce discipline or punish residents for perceived infractions. Others may restrain residents simply because the facility is understaffed and residents who can’t move are easier to supervise. The consequences can be deadly. That’s why our nursing home abuse attorneys hold them accountable.

If your loved one was restrained in a nursing home, we can help

Misuse of restraints is a serious form of nursing home abuse that can have life-altering consequences for residents. Restraints can directly cause physical harm such as bruises and broken bones, and not being able to move can cause residents to develop bedsores and other complications. Beyond the physical damage, a restraint is an attack on the resident’s dignity and can compromise their ability to trust their caregivers.

That’s why you need an attorney who will get to the bottom of what happened. The experienced legal team at Ferrell Young, LLC has a proven track record of success in holding negligent and abusive nursing homes accountable. We will find out why your loved one was harmed and put in the effort to build a winning legal case. To see how we can help you, give us a call or contact us online for a free consultation.

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