Nursing home refusing necessary restraint for dementia patient?

by Laura
(Canon City, CO)

My husband cannot stand on his own, let alone walk. He is in a nursing home in Pueblo, CO. He is a very "busy" patient and the nursing home has removed everything from his room and placed his mattress on the floor to keep him from hurting himself; however, he was recently hospitalized for a fever and severe bruise on his elbow.

The wound will not heal because he rolls around the padded floor of his room on his knees and elbows. He has been readmitted twice and is currently in the hospital and had surgery on his elbow for the third time.

I have asked the nursing home if they could temporarily restrain him until until his elbow heals. They have refused and said it is against the law. If the doctors cannot get this elbow to heal, he may loose his arm, or worse...he could die.

Why does the law not allow temporary restraint of patients who are in danger of harming themselves? Do I have any legal recourse at all? Can I request a court order to have him restrained until his elbow heals? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Nursing home refusing necessary restraint for dementia patient?":

Laura (Canon City, CO):

According to Section 7.11 of the Department of Public Health and Environment's policies controlling long term care facilities, it's a violation of law to use...

"any manual method or physical or mechanical device or material or equipment attached or adjacent to the resident’s body that the individual cannot remove easily which restricts freedom of movement or normal access to one’s body."

Colorado nursing home neglect can include:

- Failure to assist in personal hygiene
- Failure to provide appropriate food, clothing and shelter
- Failure to provide appropriate medical care
- Failure to prevent or treat malnutrition and dehydration
- Failure to prevent falls

From the facts you present, the nursing home did not violate Colorado law. You might speak with your husband's physician and see if changing your husband’s medication or introducing new medication may stop him from being quite as busy as he is.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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