The Use of Restraints in Nursing Homes is Unlawful

One of the biggest problems that elderly individuals face is elder abuse. The abuse might come in the form of a child taking advantage of or mistreating an elderly parent or relative, or more commonly, a nursing home care provider abusing or neglecting a resident who is within his or her care. Elderly residents who live in a nursing home facility have certain rights under Nevada law, and that includes the right to not suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of their care givers.

What is Elder Abuse?

Under Nevada law, it is considered elder abuse when a nursing home caregiver or other person intentionally, knowingly, or negligently acts in a way to cause harm or serious risk of harm to an elderly person. An elderly person is considered someone who is 60 years of age or older. Elder abuse can take a number of different forms including:

  • Acts of physical abuse.

  • Psychological abuse.

  • Emotional abuse.

  • Taking advantage of an elderly person financially.

  • Isolating an elderly person from others.

  • Using restraints on the elderly person in order to control him or her.

It is impermissible under the law for staff at a nursing home to use any form of restraints against elderly residents of the nursing home. Restraints can include both physical restraints, i.e., the resident is restrained to a bed or chair by straps or other securement means, as well as chemical restraints, i.e., giving residents medications that are not prescribed to them for the purpose of controlling their behavior.

Can Restraints Ever Be Used on the Elderly?

There are certainly circumstances in which it is appropriate, if not necessary, to use restraints on an elderly person. For instance, some elderly people suffer mental issues that can seriously affect their mood and behavior. These individuals can become a danger to themselves and others, and may need to be restrained either physically or with chemical restraints in order to prevent them from causing harm.

The only time that it is permissible to use restraints on the elderly is when they pose a significant risk of danger to themselves or others. If nursing home staff have a reasonable belief that the elderly resident could harm them without the use of restraints, then the use of restraints may be justified. It all depends on the circumstances of the use of the restraints.

If you are a victim of elder abuse, or you have a loved one who appears to be the victim of elder abuse or neglect, it is critically important that you get in touch with an experienced elder abuse attorney in Nevada as soon as possible. The elderly should not have to endure being restrained, abused, or neglected. Nursing home abuse and neglect is a very serious issue and should be treated appropriately. If you have questions or concerns about elder abuse or neglect, you can speak to the professionals at Parry & Pfau. Please feel free to give us a call at your convenience. We look forward to helping you.

(image courtesy of Robert Zunikoff)