Virginians who reside in a nursing home rely on the care they receive from nursing home staff to survive and to thrive. The residents are in nursing homes because they cannot properly care for themselves. Unfortunately, however, the staff in nursing homes does not always properly care for patients, and their negligence may lead to nursing home injuries for some Virginians.

Alarmingly, some nursing home injuries arise due to the use of restraints. Restraints are those devices used to keep a patient from getting agitated, moving around too much or hurting him or herself. A restraint can be either physical, such as a device that restricts a patient’s movement, or a chemical drug that sedates a patient, including anti-anxiety medications or tranquilizers.

Restraints may lead to many potential injuries. They can actually contribute to falls, which is particularly dangerous for a patient who is likely already frail. Restraints may also cause strangulation or restricted breathing, as well as bruising or cuts. Overuse of a restraining device may lead a patient to suffer from an infection or bed sores, as well as stiffness and reduced bone mass.

There are safe alternatives to restraints that may prevent dangerous nursing home injuries. With appropriate supervision and proper patient attention, such as through assessing patients’ mobility and encouraging improved mobility, patients’ lives, and bodies, can be protected. Furthermore, there is evidence that the benefits stemming from the use of restraints does not outweigh the serious harm they can cause.

If your loved one has been injured due to the negligence of nursing home staff, you may be entitled to compensation. An attorney may be able to offer guidance regarding your options.

Source: nursinghomeabuseguide.org, “Injury Due to Restraints,” accessed April 29, 2016