Established Chicago, IL Unreasonable Restraint Attorneys
Elderly Americans do not give up their basic rights when they enter the doors of an assisted living facility. In fact, nursing home residents enjoy many specific rights under Illinois and federal law, and it is up to family members and attorneys to defend them.
Among the rights of nursing home residents is the right to live comfortably and free from restraint. Hard as it may be to believe, though, unreasonable and unlawful restraints are among the more common forms of nursing home abuse in Illinois.
Unreasonable restraint happens for a number of reasons — sometimes out of genuine confusion about medical necessity and, on other occasions, as an act cruelty or an abuse of power. Whatever the reason, unjustified restraint is a violation of the resident’s rights and may even constitute battery or false imprisonment under the law.
There are, however, some specific circumstances under which nursing homes are permitted to restrain their residents. These circumstances are extremely limited and the measure of restraint should be reasonable, careful, and minimal.
Distinguishing between reasonable and unreasonable restraint of nursing home residents might seem difficult, but if you have any questions whatsoever, the Chicago unreasonable restraint attorneys at Malman Law can help. We have many years of experience in these cases, and we are dedicated to making sure that Chicago’s nursing home residents are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
What Constitutes Restraint
Before we begin distinguishing reasonable restraint from unreasonable restraint, it might be helpful to understand what we mean by “restraint” to begin with.
Restraints may be physical or chemical in nature. Physical restraints include:
- Arm and hand restraints
- Cushions or vests
- Unmovable lap trays
- Guardrails on beds
- Tightly tucked-in sheets
- Any show or application of force
Chemical restraints include:
- Sleeping aids
- Mood stabilizers
- Additional doses of a patient’s normal medication
- Depriving a patient of medication
- Any other chemical or pharmaceutical agent used to restrain a patient
Threats, harassment, or intimidation may also constitute a restraint.
When Are Nursing Homes Allowed to Restrain Residents?
As a general matter, nursing homes may make reasonable efforts to restrain patients if they pose a threat to themselves or others. Common situations in which reasonable restraints might be justified include:
- A patient who is extremely sensitive after surgery and may suffer injury or pain if allowed to move more freely
- A patient with a history of falling out of bed
- A patient who is experiencing dangerous delusions or displaying dangerously aggressive behavior
Nursing homes must be very careful when proceeding with any restraint. Applying excessive restraint or force may still subject the organization to liability, even if the underlying rationale for restraint was justified.
Examples of Unreasonable Restraint of Nursing Home Residents
There are many kinds of unreasonable restraints. Common examples include:
- Painful restraints
- Restraints that cause bedsores, bruises, ulcers, or lacerations
- Restraints that deprive patients of social interaction
- Restraints that worsen injuries or cause decreased muscle tone or coordination
- Any humiliating restraint
- Any restraint motivated by cruelty, abuse, or neglect
- Any restraint imposed as punishment
- Any restraint that prevents a patient from accessing medication, food, drink, or medical attention
- Restraints that are designed to keep the resident imprisoned within the nursing home
- Restraints that are not removed after their necessity has expired
- Restraints that do not achieve the purpose for which they were applied
- Any restraint that violates patient rights or exposes the patient to harm
Protect Your Loved One: Contact Our Chicago Unreasonable Restraint Attorneys
Nursing homes are not prisons. The staff members do not have a right to restrict your loved one’s freedom just because they are busy, frustrated, angry, or confused. Not even for a moment.
If your family member has complained of unreasonable restrain in a nursing home, please do not dismiss their concerns. Many family members find such allegations difficult to believe. We are here to tell you, though, that unlawful restraint is alarmingly common in the nursing home context. Please don’t assume that you do not have a case until you’ve talked with our office.
Malman Law has helped numerous nursing home families in the face of cruelty and injustice. We would be honored to help yours too.
We are proud to offer a Zero Fee Guarantee in every case we accept. You will never have to pay for our services unless we achieve a successful outcome on your behalf.
To get started, please call us at 888-625-6265 or complete our online consultation form to schedule a free appointment with our Chicago unreasonable restraint attorneys today.