People who rely on nursing homes to care for family members generally expect that their loved one will be able to move around freely in a safe environment. As such, if they learn that the nursing home physically restrains their loved one, they are often shocked and disturbed. While physical restraints may be necessary in some instances, they are frequently used improperly in nursing homes, resulting in significant trauma. If you or your loved one sustained harm due to the use of physical restraints in a nursing home, you have the right to seek compensation, and you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Valerie Crown of The Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., is a dedicated Rockland County nursing home negligence lawyer who understands the devastation families experience when their loved ones are harmed by those expected to keep them safe, and if you engage her services, she will advocate aggressively on your behalf. Ms. Crown regularly helps people seek damages in nursing home negligence lawsuits in Rockland, Orange, Westchester, Dutchess, and Ulster Counties and in the greater metropolitan area.The Use of Physical Restraints in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes sometimes use physical restraints to prevent residents from wandering or falling. Such restraints may include straps, belts, vests, limb ties, bedside rails, bars and brakes on wheelchairs, and sheets that are tucked in too tightly. While nursing homes typically employ physical restraints to ensure their resident’s safety, the use of such restraints can cause residents to suffer serious harm. For example, they can lead to physical injuries, like bruising and cuts, and psychological harm, such as anxiety, depression, and a loss of dignity. Further, the use of physical restraints can lead to a decline in a patient's overall health, including loss of muscle strength and an increased risk of falls. To prevent such negative outcomes, it is critical for nursing homes to monitor patients that are physically restrained carefully or to use alternatives to physical restraints.Seeking Damages for the Harm Caused by Physical Restraints in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes are subject to state and federal regulations that were issued to ensure that nursing home residents receive proper care in a safe environment. Such regulations establish resident rights, which at both the state and federal level, include the right to be free from physical restraints except for in limited circumstances. If a nursing home fails to abide by the regulations regarding physical restraints and a patient is harmed as a result, the nursing home can be held responsible for the losses suffered by the patient.
Generally, a plaintiff, in a lawsuit arising out of harm caused by the use of physical restraints, will argue that the nursing home should be held liable under a theory of negligence. To prove that a nursing home was negligent under New York law, a plaintiff must first establish that the nursing home owed them a duty. The duty, imposed on a nursing home, is to provide care that meets the standards set by state and federal regulations. Next, the plaintiff must show that the nursing home breached this duty by failing to meet the standards. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the nursing home's breach of duty caused them to suffer actual harm. For instance, if a nursing home’s use of physical restraints caused a resident to develop bed sores or suffer cognitive decline, the plaintiff may be able to argue that the evidence demonstrates causation.
Since the specific duties imposed on nursing homes can be difficult for most people to comprehend, the plaintiff will likely need to hire an expert to explain to the judge or jury the nursing home’s duties under the regulations and how the nursing home failed to uphold those duties.Speak with a Seasoned Rockland County Lawyer
Nursing home residents have numerous rights, including the right to be able to move about freely. If you or a loved one were hurt due to a nursing home’s inappropriate use of physical restraints, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Valerie Crown, of The Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., is a seasoned Rockland County lawyer with substantial experience helping people harmed by nursing home negligence. If you hire Valerie, she will fight for justice for you or your loved one. Ms. Crown’s office is located in New York, and she regularly represents people in lawsuits arising out of nursing home negligence in Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Dutchess, and Ulster Counties and in the greater metropolitan area. You can contact Valerie through the form online or by calling 845.708.5900 (office number) or 845.598.8253 (Valerie’s direct cellphone 24/7).