The use of physical restraints in a nursing home is often a matter of safety and security. Unfortunately, whether due to a poorly trained staff or a staff member using restraints as a punishment, elderly nursing home residents can suffer serious physical and psychological damage.
Often, the staff uses physical restraints to protect an elderly resident. From those with mobility issues and those prone to falling to keeping safe while in transport or preventing them from falling out of bed, the staff employs restraints under numerous conditions. Unfortunately, physical restraints can lead to significant injuries in the elderly. For example, straps, belts, vests and limb ties can result in:
- Respiratory complications
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Bedsores (pressure sores, decubitus ulcers)
- Impaired balance
- Muscle atrophy
- Urinary complications
In these situations, the restraints cause significant damage when an individual is strapped in too tightly or the staff leaves them in restraints for too long. Physical restraints can cause devastating injuries and lasting physical damage to an elderly nursing home resident.
There is a psychological component
In addition to visible physical damage, the resident could also suffer lasting psychological impact. Physical or chemical restraints can lead to feelings of loss of freedom and alienation. Individuals can experience depression, anxiety and embarrassment. The psychological component tied to being forcibly restrained cannot be ignored.
If you notice your elderly loved one experiencing unexplained injuries or dramatic emotional changes, it is wise to seek guidance. In many circumstances, the injured individual is unwilling to discuss the matter for fear of inciting retaliation or worsening conditions.