We’ve all heard horror stories about nursing home abuse in Ohio, but many focus on overworked staff and patient neglect. It’s less common to hear about nursing homes abusing their power to restrain residents.
Ohio law protects nursing home residents against improper restraint usage. Ohio Revised Code Section 3721.13(a)(13) grants residents “the right to be free from physical or chemical restraints or prolonged isolation except to the minimum extent necessary to protect the resident from injury to self, others, or to property and except as authorized in writing by the attending physician for a specified and limited period of time and documented in the resident’s medical record.”
This code section goes on to delineate situations in which restraints can be used and under which circumstances. Read on to learn how physical and chemical restraints can harm patients.
Ethical Concerns About Using Restraints
The major ethical concern surrounding restraints is that overworked staff will use them to subdue a recalcitrant or demanding patient. Sometimes restraints are used as punishment or a means of control—nursing home workers have been known to use them as a way to free up their own time, rather than having to deal with a “problem patient.”
In addition to the ethical concerns and physical harm that can be caused by restraints, they’re also an affront to a patient’s dignity. Being physically or chemically restrained reduces their autonomy and makes it impossible to function on their own.
Physical Harm from Restraints
Residents can also suffer physical harm from restraints. If used too frequently, their muscles may atrophy. If the patient is restrained too tightly, they may suffer bruises, joint pain, muscle stiffness and other unpleasant ailments.
What Kind of Restraints Might Be Used?
Restraints don’t always look like straps, handcuffs or sedatives. Even ordinary safety precautions or assistive devices can function as restraints under the right circumstances. For example, bedrails, lap tables and lap cushions can keep patients from getting out of bed for long periods at a time. Hiding the bed controls is another form of restraint.
The nursing home might use more straightforward restraints, too. Look for hand mitts, jackets, vests, ties and straps. You should also be familiar with the medications they’re giving your loved one—make sure you know exactly what each prescription is and why it’s used. If it’s an unusual sedative, find out why they’ve deemed it necessary.
Work with an Ohio Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Don’t let abusive nursing homes take advantage of your elderly loved ones. They deserve dignity, respect and compensation for any damage caused by improper restraints. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me today at 877.944.4373 for a consultation.