Restraints in Nursing Homes
Although the use of restraints in nursing homes has decreased, it’s still a common type of nursing home abuse. Currently almost half of nursing home patients are being restrained in some states while the numbers are even higher in others. Even the numbers reported are estimated to be low as they exclude geriatric chairs which prevent a resident from rising. While the cause or need for resident restraint can be necessary, the fact that restraint use is detrimental to a patient’s mental, emotional, and physical well being can’t be overlooked.
Physical restraint has been defined as: “…any device, material or equipment attached, or near a person’s body and which cannot be controlled by the person-…which deliberately prevents and /or is deliberately intended to prevent a person’s free body movement to a position of choice and /or a normal access to their body”. Restas AP p184-191
The resident may have limited ability to carry out many activities of daily living. This would make it a risk if the patient would want to get out of bed to utilize the bathroom or if they wanted to go for a walk. They may have suffered an injury or illness that had lowered their cognitive performance. This would limit their ability to communicate properly. It may limit their mental status making them a risk of wandering or just not realizing what they are doing. Residents who have a history of falls and injuries due to those falls may also be restrained. Also residents who take antipsychotic medications may be restrained to keep them from hurting themselves or others. The resident could be at risk of striking out at the employees responsible for their care.
The effects these restraints have on residents are numerous. As far as mental effects, restraints to elderly residents can cause disorientation and confusion. They can actually decrease cognitive function and cause the resident to become depressed. When restrained they can become agitated and...