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When Does Restraining a Nursing Home Resident Become Abuse?

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysNursing home residents live in a nursing home because they are unable to live on their own. This could be due to physical disabilities, mental incapacitation, or most often, both. Sometimes these issues make it necessary to restrain a resident in order to limit his or her movement in some way. For example, side rails on a bed may be used to help a resident who is prone to rolling out of bed avoid injury. Restraints can be either physical or chemical, and should only be used when doing so is absolutely necessary to prevent harm to the resident. Restraints that are used as a punishment or for the convenience of nursing home staff are unacceptable and not in compliance with Illinois law.

The Nursing Home Care Act Outlines Residents’ Rights

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is a law that protects the rights of nursing home residents and dictates the type of care that nursing home staff must provide for residents. According to the law, nursing home residents have the right to:

  • Be free from neglect and abuse at the hands of nursing home staff;
  • Practice their chosen religion;
  • Keep personal items and clothing in their room;
  • Receive medical treatment from a doctor of their choosing;
  • Receive visits, phone calls, and other correspondence from loved ones;
  • Refuse unwanted medical treatment; and
  • Be free from unreasonable restraint.

These are only a few of the rights protected by the Nursing Home Care Act. The full text of the act can be found in Section 210 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.

Determining When Restraints Are Unreasonable

It can sometimes be difficult to tell when unreasonable restraints are being used on a resident. Common examples of unreasonable restraint include:

  • Restraints that are painful or cause injures such as bruises, lacerations, ulcers, or bedsores;
  • Restraints that deny residents of social interaction;
  • Restraints that exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions or injuries;
  • Restraints that cause diminished muscle tone or coordination;
  • Restraints used for nursing home staff convenience;
  • Restraints that are driven by malice, abuse, or neglect; and
  • Restraints used as a punishment or to humiliate the resident. 

Nursing home residents should always be treated with dignity and respect. Any restraint, either chemical or physical, which is used to limit a resident’s freedom and is not absolutely essential to their safety is in violation of law.

Speak with a Chicago, Illinois Unreasonable Restraint Lawyer

To learn more about nursing home abuse and neglect, contact the compassionate and highly skilled DuPage County nursing home abuse attorneys at Schwartz Injury Law. Call us today at 312-535-4625 to schedule your cost-free, confidential consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1225

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/190.00.pdf

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