Under California law elder abuse is both a criminal and civil offense. Criminal elder abuse describes the willful infliction of physical or emotional suffering on an elder. Civil elder abuse can includes any physical or financial abuse, neglect or abandonment resulting in physical or mental harm. The unnecessary use of physical restraints in California nursing homes is illegal and may rise to the level of both a criminal and civil offense.
Physical restraints may be used to prevent an elder in a nursing home from falling out of a bed or a chair. In certain cases, the use of these devices, such as bedrails, may be helpful. In other instances however, the use of physical restraints may be deadly. Sadly, as a result of diminished capacity due to a senior’s advanced age, physical confinement, and medical condition, it is often difficult for victims of elder abuse to speak out. That is why it is important for anyone who witnesses or suspects than an elder is being physically restrained against their will in a nursing home, to speak out.
Signs and symptoms that a loved one may be physically restrained without their consent may include:
•Loss of mobility
If you suspect an elder is being abused in any capacity, including being physically restrained while in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home; report the incident to both the Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman and your local law enforcement.