A restraint is any device that prevents a patient from freely moving. Restraints can include bed rails, lap buddies, table tops, geri-chairs, and any other device that prevents the resident from moving. Many studies have shown that restraints cause more injuries than they prevent. Thus, before the nursing home uses a restraint, all other possible methods should have been attempted and then, only after consultation with the physician and family, should a restraint be considered.
A nursing home may not restrain a resident except in cases of emergency (24 hours only) and then only upon receipt of a written physician’s order. Restraints may not be used for the nursing home’s convenience or as a form of discipline.