Advocating for Victims of Nursing Home Restraints

If you suspect or have witnessed your loved one become a victim of nursing home restraint, contact the competent and compassionate nursing home abuse attorney in San Antonio at the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham. Our successful nursing home abuse attorney is prepared to investigate your case thoroughly, build strong evidence, and take on powerful nursing home owners and insurance companies to negotiate the maximum compensation you or your loved one deserve. 

Physical Restraints Used in Texas Nursing Homes

All nursing home residents were given the right to be free from restraints by the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. The only exception to the rule is when restraints are ordered by a doctor. It is illegal to use restraints on a nursing home resident without a physician’s order. Physical restraints are typically in the form of a device placed around or next to a resident for eliminating or limiting their movement.

Residents are at great risk for serious injury and even death when nursing homes use physical restraints as a substitute to regular monitoring and evaluation. These are a few examples of common physical restraints used:

  • Arm restraints
  • Wheelchair belts
  • Hand mitts
  • Lap trays or “lap buddies”
  • Vests or ties
  • Leg restraints
  • Bed rails
  • Loop fasteners and hooks on clothing
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Woman in a wheelchair

Chemical Restraints Used in Texas Nursing Homes

Chemical restraints are medications used for subduing residents as a measure of convenience or discipline instead of for medical reasons. They are often used for sedating and pacifying patients whose behavior proves to be too unruly or aggressive for the staff. Medications used for treating an illness and protecting the safety of a patient don’t qualify as chemical restraints. 

Any drug that has a disorienting or calming effect can be used as a chemical restraint in nursing facilities. The more common types of drugs used for this purpose include:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Anxiolytics
  • Antidepressants
  • Sedative-hypnotics

Injuries from Physical and Chemical Restraints in Texas Nursing Homes

Injuries related to physical restraints:

  • Loss of dignity
  • Depression
  • Reduced bone mass
  • Stiffness
  • Strangulation, or restricted breathing
  • Incontinence
  • Cuts and bruising
  • Infection

Injuries related to chemical restraints:

  • Loss of memory
  • Agitation
  • Withdrawal and depression
  • Increased dependence and functional decline
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Muscle disorders
  • Adverse drug effects
  • Increased risk of accidents and falls
  • Loss of mobility and strength
  • Low blood pressure
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Understaffing and the Use of Restraints in Texas Nursing Home Facilities

Understaffing is a key concern in many nursing homes across Texas; but it is no excuse to infringe upon the rights of a nursing home resident and deprive them of their quality of life. More than 90% of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities deal with understaffing issues today. However, the industry prevalence of understaffing cannot be used as a defense against poor or negligent treatment of our seniors and elderly. 

Understaffing sometimes results in less attentive, more aggressive, abusive and negligent behavior by the staff toward the elderly residents. To reduce the daily workload, restraints become the common go-to choice so that residents remain in a comatose or contained state. Understaffing is also the primary underlying cause of patient neglect in these facilities. Nearly 50% of nursing home attendants and nurses report not to notice a change in patient’s condition because of excessive workloads. 

Legal Consequences of Using Restraints

You have the right to pursue legal action against the nursing home facility when a loved one has been injured from being physically and chemically restrained in a nursing home. Use of improper restraints is considered an act of abuse or neglect. The nursing home and individual staff members can be held responsible for your loved one’s injuries.

When you admit your loved one to a nursing facility, the nursing home promises to provide proper care and attention to the vulnerable and dependent elderly resident. Negligent acts, such as using physical and chemical restraints, are a breach of the standard of care. When negligence causes injury or death, the nursing home can, and should, be held accountable. 

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Choose the Trusted Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm with a Proven Track Record

At the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham, our experienced and sympathetic San Antonio medical malpractice attorney, Glenn W. Cunningham, understands how traumatizing physical and chemical restraints can be for your loved one. We are dedicated to building a strong claim that not only secures financial compensation, but also ensures the responsible parties are adequately punished. We are happy to provide you with a free case evaluation. Call us at our office or reach us online

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He took my case and fought for me from day one. Glenn and his staff were professional and caring. They kept me updated on all aspects of my case. We were able to go to mediation and reach a settlement that was more than fair. I would recommend Glenn to any of my friends and family. I am beyond pleased with how my case was handled and ultimately settled.


Glenn Cunningham is tough, smart, experienced.

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I am very pleased with the legal services provided by Glenn Cunningham. He is very competent, knowledgeable, caring, personable, and professional. If you are seeking justice for medical malpractice or wrongful death, Glenn will fight for you. He is tenacious and assertive on behalf of his clients. He also keeps you informed of the status of your case on a regular basis.


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