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Restraint Meant To Prevent Harm Can Cause Injuries

When patients are deemed to be threats to themselves or to others, medical staff may employ use of restraints of various nature in order to prevent someone from being harmed. While use of such restraints is often seen when dealing with people who are suffering from mental disorders, seen as being suicidal, or otherwise dangerous, these restraints have been used on residents of nursing homes. While they may be employed for various reasons, restraints often cause harm to elderly patients rather than preventing harm.

At Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst in Oklahoma City, our nursing home injury attorneys understand how traumatizing it can be for both the elderly and their families when they are subjected to physical or chemical restraints. Those injured or the families of those who have passed away due to restraint use have the legal right to pursue compensation from the at-fault parties and justice for what has been done.

What Are Physical Restraints?

Physical restraints are meant to render a person harmless or helpless by keeping them in captivity via use of ropes, straps, handcuffs, fetters, straightjackets, and even physical force from a person or group of people. When physical restraints are used in nursing homes, staff must prove their necessity in connection with poor cognitive function in the subject such as delirium, confusion and other dementia-related conditions. Staff must use high levels of caution when restraining a patient and assess the environment for potential hazards and provide a greater amount of supervision including regular checking on the subject and a position closer to staff.

What Are Chemical Restraints?

Chemical restraints are the use of drugs to restrict the freedom and movement of a subject or to sedate him or her. Use of chemical restraints is meant to be used only in emergency situations or acute and psychiatric settings in order to control unruly patients that are interfering with care or may cause harm. Benzodiazepines (such as Ativan, Versed and Valium) are frequently used as chemical restraint medications, as they have a sedative, sleep-inducing, muscle-relaxing, amnesic and anti-anxiety effect. However, chemical restraints have been shown to be used by medical staff for their own convenience, rather than improving the patient’s health.

Restraint Use And Injuries

Both physical and chemical restraints are meant to be a solution that is used only after all other options have run out. Because of their serious nature, many injuries and illnesses can result from their use, whether or not they were necessary.

Consequences from physical restraints include:

  • Delirium;
  • Urinary incontinence;
  • Bedsores;
  • Constipation;
  • Agitation or confusion;
  • Trip-and-fall accidents;
  • Nerve injury;
  • Musculoskeletal injury;
  • Decline in physical abilities and functions;
  • Strangulation or asphyxiation; and
  • General decrease in care for the patient.

Common chemical restraint side effects are:

  • Worsening of medical conditions due to inability to communicate;
  • Unexpected medical events from medication’s effects;
  • Lasting cognitive impairment;
  • Alterations in mood and behavior;
  • Chemical dependence;
  • Withdrawal syndromes;
  • Deep unconsciousness or death from overdose;
  • Toxic effects from drug or combination of drugs; and
  • Decrease in medical care and attention.

Compassionate Restraint Injury Legal Representation

Oklahoma nursing homes are legally, contractually and morally obligated to provide the utmost care for their residents. Whether it is in day-to-day care or emergency situations, nursing homes and staff are meant to put the residents’ best interests first; unfortunately, many facilities do not adhere to such guidelines and instead seek to cut costs and keep residents from bothering them. Like other forms of nursing home neglect and abuse, chemical and physical restraints can result in serious physical, emotional, and psychological damage that may also cause financial burdens.

The Oklahoma nursing home injury attorneys at Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst have years of experience in the field and are dedicated to helping residents and their families recover from the injuries they have suffered and holding the at-fault parties responsible. If you or a loved one has suffered due to the negligence, recklessness or oversight of a nursing home, call our lawyers for a consultation on your case at 800-539-0652.