Nursing Home Abuse and Restraint Injuries


Nursing home abuse and neglect in New York can take many different forms, and sometimes the use of restraints in a nursing home setting can amount to abuse. When chemical or physical restraints are used on particular patients in certain contexts, it may be possible to file a nursing home negligence claim. While restraints can be appropriate or lawful in some circumstances, it is important to seek advice from a nursing home neglect attorney in New York who can assess the case. In the meantime, the following information can help clarify the relationship between nursing home abuse and restraint injuries.


New York Has Laws Concerning the Use of Restraints in Nursing Homes


When it comes to physical or chemical restraints in a nursing home, residents have protections under New York law. Related to the use of chemical restraints, the law makes clear that nursing homes must ensure that a resident is “free . . . from any psychotropic drug administered for purposes of discipline or convenience, and not required to treat the resident’s medical conditions or symptoms.” In other words, nursing home residents cannot be given medications in an off-label manner to reduce behaviors associated with dementia or to make residents easier to handle.


Physical constraints may be appropriate in certain circumstances, but the law also makes clear that, when physical restraints are in place that restrict a resident’s movement or prevent normal access to their body, all of the following cited in regulations must be true:


  • Used only to protect the health and safety of the resident and to assist the resident to attain and maintain optimum levels of physical and emotional functioning;

  • An integral part of the interdisciplinary care plan that is individualized as to the type of restraint, release schedules, type of exercise, necessary skin care and ambulation to be provided, and is intended to lead to less restrictive treatment to manage the problem for which the restraint is applied;

  • Used only in unusual circumstances and only after all reasonable less restrictive alternatives have been considered and rejected for reasons related to the resident's well-being which shall be documented showing evidence of consultation with appropriate professionals such as social workers and physical therapists. Less restrictive measures that would not clearly jeopardize the resident's safety shall not be rejected before a trial to demonstrate whether a more restrictive restraint would promote greater functional independence;

  • Not used for staff convenience, for purposes of discipline or as substitutes for direct care, activities and other services;

  • An enabler of the highest practicable physical, mental or psychosocial well-being; and

  • Implemented only after the resident or designated representative, to the extent permitted by state law, agrees to this treatment alternative, except in an emergency situation . . . . If the resident or designated representative withdraws agreement to the treatment after implementation, the usage shall be stopped.


Further, if physical restraints are used, they must be used only for a limited and specific period of time, the resident must be closely monitored during that time, and the health plan that involves use of restraints must be regularly reviewed and reevaluated.


Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim for Restraint Injuries


When residents are restrained in ways that violate their rights under New York law, including when subsequent injuries result from the use of restraints, it may be possible to file a nursing home negligence claim. You should get in touch with a lawyer who can help.


Contact Our New York Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys


Do you have questions about filing a nursing home negligence claim related to improper restraints? A New York nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm can speak with you today. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC to learn more.


LVW LOGO PNG ONLINE_edited_edited_edited