Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that unnecessarily restraining elders while in a long term skilled nursing facility or nursing home is against the law, countless elders are physically restrained in nursing homes every year. It is important that if you know someone who is being unnecessarily restrained in a California nursing home, that you notify the proper authorities immediately.
Physical restraints include leg and arm restraints, hand mitts, vests, ties, or strategic positioning of an elder so as to restrict their movement. Methods for restraining elders in California nursing homes have included belts, using bars, trays, tables, bed rails, or positioning a wheel chair against a wall so that the elder cannot move.
The fact that this misuse of authority continues to victimize elders is unfathomable, as there are so many alternatives to restraint to ensure that elders remain safe while in the care of a nursing home. However, some people still using restraints under the guise of “keeping the elder safe.” The truth is, there are many ways to keep elders safe, without physically restraining their mobility. These include things such as:
•Utilizing pillows and pads to support elders in a comfortable position
•Confirming that wheelchairs are adjusted properly
•Making use of bedrails to help elders safely get out of bed and move around
•Providing training for using walking devices
•Providing therapy or restorative care to assist the elderly with physical movement
•Making sure that the height of the elder’s bed is appropriate (same for bed rails)
•Personally helping the elder to get out of bed, to walk, etc.
If you suspect someone you know is being physically restrained in anyway, ask questions. If you are told that the restraining practices are for your loved one’s own good, be on alert. The physical restriction of an elderly resident in a California nursing home should never prevent them from activities in which they should be able to engage.
If you have questions or concerns about the treatment of a loved one in a California nursing home is receiving, contact a local ombudsman and/or the California Department of Public Health.