Improper Use of Restraints
Abuse and neglect take many horrific forms in the nursing home environment, but few behaviors are more frightening or demeaning than the improper use of restraints on vulnerable nursing home residents. While the use of restraints in a nursing home is not illegal in every instance, their usage should be the exception rather than the rule. The overuse of restraint devices on frail, helpless patients in assisted living centers is so appalling that the federal Residents’ Bill of Rights includes the right to freedom from physical restraints among the rights that should be afforded to all nursing home residents. If you believe that your loved one has been the subject of an improper use of restraints, you should talk to an attorney about your concerns. Rockland County nursing home abuse lawyer Valerie J. Crown has decades of experience advocating for vulnerable senior citizens throughout Greater New York.
Valerie and her staff are committed to vindicating the rights of injured individuals to the fullest extent of the law. You can reach Valerie through her cell phone 24/7 by calling 845.598.8253. We take pride in making ourselves available to our clients whenever they need us. We also offer the resources of a large firm and can handle matters of all sizes while maintaining the compassion and personal attention that people deserve in their times of need.Seek Compensation for Injuries Caused by the Improper Use of Restraints
Nursing home residents may be restrained with physical, chemical, and even psychological mechanisms. Physical restraints include things like hand or wrist straps, belts, rails, bars or brakes on wheelchairs, or ties. Chemical restraints are drugs or medication designed to subdue residents, such as antipsychotics or sedatives. Psychological restraints typically take the form of verbal pressure, threats of punishment, or unreasonable surveillance. A family who is concerned that a loved one has been the victim of an improper use of restraints in a nursing home should be on the lookout for bruising on the resident’s arms, legs, wrists, or ankles, as well as unusual grogginess or lack of focus.
Although certain actions taken by nursing home personnel may lead to criminal liability, most lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries in these facilities are pursued under a theory of negligence. If a particular doctor or nurse caused the harm, the claim may allege medical malpractice. Negligence claims require a plaintiff to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care that was owed to the resident and that the resident was harmed as a proximate result. In medical malpractice cases, the duty element is based on the standard of care that a competent health care worker in the defendant’s profession should have followed. In nursing home negligence or abuse cases, it may be necessary to retain an expert witness to testify about the applicable standard of care and explain how the defendant breached it.
Once the elements of negligence have been established, the plaintiff likely will be entitled to damages. The improper use of restraints may cause many medical problems, including lacerations, edema, strangulation, bedsores, constipation, incontinence, respiratory difficulties, and infections. It may also cause mental health issues like depression, isolation, anxiety, and loss of dignity. Damages in a successful nursing home lawsuit may include the payment of past and future medical expenses required by the improper use of restraints and compensation for the pain and suffering endured by the resident.
In a wrongful death case, a deceased person’s family may receive compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, and other damages. Punitive damages may even be available if the defendant’s conduct rose to the level of reckless, willful, or wanton conduct.Consult a Compassionate Rockland County Lawyer for a Nursing Home Abuse Case
If you worry that a loved one is not being treated properly or has passed away due to mistreatment in a nursing home, the time to take action is now. The New York statute of limitations puts an outer limit on the period in which an injured person or their family may seek compensation. Dedicated Rockland County nursing home abuse attorney Valerie J. Crown offers a free case evaluation. Call us at 845.708.5900 or contact us online to set up your appointment. We represent people and families who need an injury attorney in Rockland, Westchester, Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange Counties, as well as in New York City.