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Oregon Physical Restraints on Elderly Lawyers - Bend/Portland, OR

Physical restraints are sometimes used by healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers to help restrict, prevent, or otherwise control residents.  Sometimes physical restraints are unfortunately necessary.  Unfortunately, many times physical restraints are not necessary and there are lesser invasive and lesser restrictive alternatives to use.  This means that nursing home residents are being subjected to the unnecessary and potentially harmful consequences of physical restraints which could mean serious personal injury, emotional harm, and even wrongful death.  If you or a loved one have been subjected to physical restraints at an Oregon nursing home, rehabilitation center, hospital, other other similar facility, ask our Oregon physical restraints on elderly lawyers whether your legal, regulatory, or constitutional rights were violated.

What are Physical Restraints on the Elderly?

Physical restraints on the elderly are any type of tangible restraint such as a device, material, equipment, system, or other object which is used to keep a resident’s freedom of movement or range of motion restricted or entirely blocked.  A physical restraint typically cannot be removed by a resident, or easily removed, and it is meant to keep a resident in place.  The medical purpose of a physical restraint is to keep the resident from harming himself or herself by wandering, falling out of bed, or if the resident has leg surgery and is not supposed to walk.  However, some nursing home staff members get frustrated with residents and may use physical restraints to give a resident “time out” or to punish a resident for frustrating conduct.  These are unlawful.

There are many different types of physical restraints that could be used on the elderly.  These physical restraints include the following:

  • Bedrails or side rails, including half rails (only from head to mid-chest/shoulder) or full rails (on all sides of the bed);
  • Belts and seatbelts;
  • Lap belts (wheelchairs);
  • Hand mitts;
  • Vests, including straight jackets;
  • Restraining chairs;
  • Lap trays or tables that lock in place to keep a resident at the table;
  • Soft ties;
  • Handcuffs; and
  • Other restraints.

Why Physical Restraints on the Elderly Can be Dangerous and Nursing Home Malpractice

Physical restraints that completely limit an individual’s ability to move are unlawful unless 1) there is a drastic emergency use (i.e., assaultive behavior or felonious behavior), or 2) a physician’s order or prescription.  Nurses and other staff that physically restrain an elderly resident may be committed nursing home malpractice and be liable for negligence.  These healthcare providers may also be committed serious intentional misconduct including crimes or torts (civil wrongs).  These are huge constitutional and ethical issues.

But aside from legal reasons, physical restraints on the elderly are dangerous for several reasons.  This includes the following reasons:

  • Harm to fragile skin around the ankles, wrists, and waist;
  • Increased risk of bedsores or pressure sores from being restrained in the same position;
  • Psychological harm;
  • Residents with bedrails due to being a fall risk may try to climb over them and end up falling from a greater height than if there were no bedrails; 
  • If staff forgets the resident is restrained, it could be gross neglect;
  • Residents are not free to eat or go to the restroom which could also a host of other issues such as malnutrition, UTIs, dehydration, and other issues;
  • Circulation issues if restraints too fight;
  • Nonverbal residents cannot explain what is wrong or bothering them;
  • Pains, aches, and other uncomfortableness cannot be readjusted; and
  • Other dangers.

Why the Use of Physical Restraints on the Elderly Could be Oregon Nursing Home Malpractice: Proving Liability 

If healthcare providers use physical restraints on elderly patients in a nursing home with just cause, including a physician’s order or prescription, it could result in a whole host of legal, ethical, and constitutional issues.  But the most common issue is actually medical malpractice.  This is because the use of certain restraints is a medical judgment.  Medical judgments are not just pure negligence, but medical malpractice.  Thus, the decision to use physical restraints is a medical judgment decision.

It could be Oregon nursing home malpractice if, after the decision to use physical restraints was made, a resident suffers greater harm from the physical restraints than if the resident did not have any physical restraints.  This comes down to causation—did the physical restraints cause harm to the elderly resident that would not have occurred to the resident if the physical restraints were not used.  The answer is almost always yes, meaning residents and their families may have a cause of action for nursing home malpractice.

In order to prove a case of nursing home malpractice under Oregon law, a plaintiff will need to establish that the use of physical restraints was below the standard of care which a reasonably prudent healthcare provider in similar circumstances would have done.  This means that if other physicians would not have used physical restraints because of the risk of harm to a resident was too great, you may have a claim for Oregon nursing home malpractice and should ask our Oregon physical restraints on the elderly lawyers to review your claim.

Bend/Portland, Oregon Physical Restraints on the Elderly Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect contact the Oregon Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.  

We handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, and Hillsboro.  

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take Nursing Home Abuse cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.  

Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law. 

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For more information on Medical Malpractice and Nursing Home Abuse, please also visit – StoppingMedicalMistakes.com

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