One of the fundamental tenets of the Nursing Home Patients’ Bill of Rights is the right of a long-term care patient to live free from restraints, whether they are physical, chemical, or mechanical. Patients must have the ability to control their own body functions, to the greatest degree possible, unhampered by restraints. While restraints are necessary in some extreme cases, or on a temporary basis during an emergency situation, the overuse of restraints can lead to significant injuries to a nursing home resident, both physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, many short-staffed nursing or long-term care facilities use restraints for convenience rather than necessity. Physical restraints are objects that physically restrain a resident, such as belts, straps, and side rails on a bed. If a resident is left restrained for a significant period of time, he or she may suffer physical injuries due to an inability to freely move about, such as bruises on their wrists and feet. A prolonged period of physical restraint also can cause psychological or emotional issues in a patient due to neglect, lack of human contact, and inability to move in any meaningful fashion.
Although chemical restraints act much differently than physical restraints, they often have the same effect. By using drugs to restrict a patient’s freedom, nursing home staff may believe that they can more easily care for a large number of residents. However, continual usage of medications to effectively sedate nursing home residents is not in accordance with a resident’s rights to move freely without fear of dizziness, falling, or excessive sleepiness. These drugs are only appropriate when prescribed by a doctor to a specific patient in order to treat a certain medical condition or symptom, not for the convenience of nursing home staff.
All too often, nursing home staff members use restraints on residents improperly, and to the extent that the residents suffer neglect and even injury. While restraints are necessary in certain situations, they should not be used as a means to control unattended patients. At Boller & Vaughan, we focus on protecting the rights of those who have suffered neglectful or abusive actions at the hands of nursing home facilities. We have the skills and knowledge to delve into the facts your case, consider all available options, and advocate on your behalf by bringing any legal claims that you may have against the nursing home in question, or its staff members. Call your Wisconsin nursing home neglect attorneys at (608) 268-0268 and schedule your free consultation today.