Physical Restraints in Maryland Nursing Homes

In yesterday’s blog post, our lawyers from Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC, discussed the resent release of the annual state-by-state check-up of healthcare ratings, in the National Healthcare Quality Report from 2009, which includes Maryland’s ratings on nursing home care, and the use of physical restraint.

Nursing home restraint is a physical or pharmacologic restraint used to keep a resident or patient from moving freely, and is only allowed when medically necessary, as it can also cause patients to become weak or develop other health complications like pressure sores, isolation, loss of walking ability, incontinence, or injury from trying to escape the restraints, leading to possible injury or wrongful death.

Restraints have been used in nursing homes when impaired residents with mental conditions are prone to nursing home falls, wandering, or the potential for personal injury—but are controversial as they have been also been used for the purposes of discipline, or for the convenience of the nursing home—leading to nursing home abuse and neglect.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that the use of physical and chemical restraints has reduced substantially after the implementation the CMS restraint regulation in 1990, showing that physical restraints had serious negative effects including the risk of wrongful death, and nursing home abuse and neglect.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the use of restraints on nursing home residents has declined from 44 percent in 1989 to 9 percent currently. Research performed in 2008 found that the use of restraints was not only costly, but also caused adverse health consequences for residents—after three months of being restrained, residents’ cognitive performances lowered significantly in abilities to perform daily tasks like dressing, bathing, or walking.

In the 2009 study, nursing homes in Maryland received a slightly above average ranking with the use of physical restraints for nursing home residents—a steady decline in physical restraints over the past 10 years. This was nearly the same Maryland nursing home restraint ranking as in 2008.

If you or someone you know in a Maryland nursing facility has experienced nursing home negligence or abuse due to physical or chemical restraint, contact our attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC for a free consultation, so we can help you receive the personal injury compensation you are owed.

Elderly/Long-Term Care: Use of Physical Restraints in Nursing Homes Creates Substantial Adverse Consequences for Residents, AHRQ
Freedom from Unnecessary Physical Restraints: Two Decades of National Progress in Nursing Home Care,Center for Medicaid and State Operations/Survey and Certification Group, November 7, 2008
Feds Give Maryland’s Health Care Quality Mixed Reviews, Southern Maryland Online, April 14, 2010

2009 National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Reports

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NHQRDR

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