The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 states that the resident has a right to be free from physical or chemical restraints for the purpose of discipline or convenience. Since this nursing home law was passed, the percentage of nursing home residents that are restrained has dropped. According to Medicare, an average of 21.1% of residents were restrained daily in 1991. That percentage dropped to 8.5% in 2003 and continued to drop to 5.5% in 2007. Unfortunately, according to a recent USA Today article, Arkansas is one of four states that has a greater than 10% use of restraints in nursing homes according to a 2007 report.
Fortunately, Arkansas nursing home residents’ families can access a nursing home’s quality measures through the Nursing Home Compare government website. I highly recommend that all families that have a loved one in an Arkansas nursing home review this nursing home information before placing their family member in an Arkansas nursing home. Along with use of physical restraints, the quality measures include the percentage of nursing home residents who suffer moderate to severe pain, the percentage of Arkansas nursing home residents that suffer pressure sores, the percentage of nursing home residents with urinary tract infections, and the percentage of Arkansas nursing home residents who lose weight during their residency. The review of this information is one tool that a family can use to decide where to place their family member when nursing home care is needed.
If you suspect a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact an Arkansas nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your legal options.