use of restraints legal?

  1. My mom's brother just had bypass surgery on Monday and has apparently been dealing with ICU psychosis. He is normally somewhat claustrophobic and with everything else going on in ICU, he is having difficulties. The nursing staff had to resort to applying restraints as he was trying to take out his iv and other various tubes. A friend of my uncle's wife is now trying to tell my mom that this is illegal. I don't see how that is possible when they are just trying to prevent him from hurting himself. She asked if I had ever heard of anything like that and I told her that I would look into it. Any thoughts or experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Visit kats profile page

    About kats

    Joined: Jan '02; Posts: 340; Likes: 4


  3. by   whipping girl in 07
    It's not illegal if you have an order from a doctor and you have documentation that you've tried other methods besides restraining the patient.

    The form we use at my facility to chart about restraints has a place to write what the patient did and what you tried to keep the patient from pulling at lines.

    What's illegal (and unethical) is to allow a patient to pull their endotracheal tube out and die because of airway compromise, or pull their swan-ganz catheter out and go into ventricular fibrillation or bleed to death.

    It should BE illegal for people who don't know what the hell they are talking about to be giving legal advice about restraining a patient when they have no idea what's involved and stirring up a big thraca.
  4. by   Nurse Ratched
    The day restraints are completely outlawed will be the last day I work in psych . I suspect you will see a lot of ICU nurses polishing up their resumes at that point as well.

    It's a whole ton of paperwork to restrain someone, but it is legal under appropriate circumstances. Your uncle's wife's friend probably needs to mind her own business and be grateful he has his tubes and lines in given the severity of what he's dealing with.

    I hope your uncle recovers quickly.
  5. by   Zinnia
    We restrain when we have run out of ideas.
    If the family doesn't like it they can sit at the bedside and hold their hands. simple as that
  6. by   JudithL_in_NH
    My dad recently had a hernia repaired in day surgery. He's 80; it didn't go well, and he had difficulties recovering from the anesthesia--very disoriented, trying to pull out lines, trying to get out of bed.

    His nurse came and got me out of the waiting room and told me they needed to restrain him unless I was willing to sit in PACU with him and keep him calm; just talking to him when he became agitated was enough to keep him still--but the staff couldn't sit there with him. As I'm a nursing student, I was thrilled at the opportunity to eyeball PACU (and help care for my dad).

    He stayed in PACU the whole day, and it was that same nurse who went to bat for him and had him admitted overnight when the surgeon wanted to send him home (pain still 10/10 and unable to walk).
  7. by   kats
    Thank you for your responses. Konni, I completely agree with you about people giving legal advice. My mom is even married to a lawyer and I am sure that she asked him too. She certainly didn't want to get the nurses in trouble, but she was worried that the friend would convince my uncle's wife to create problems. His wife is pretty scatter-brained even when not dealing with something like this.
  8. by   kats
    I forgot to tell you all last night that the reason why the nurses put him in restraints as opposed to sedating him is that they want him to be aware enough to be able to do all the breathing things they need him to do. He is already very sleepy most of the time and having difficulties with his breathing. I just saw something on that at a web site I was looking at and wanted to add it.
  9. by   charissa
    Restraints are acceptable when other alternatives have been ineffective and the faimly is either unable or unwilling to sit with the patient or in doing so is still unable to control the actions. Sometimes people get restrained, and it is for thier safety and ours as well. I had a nurse who thought that although they were ordered restraining an older gentleman at my nurses station would be "mean" He pulled out his foley with an inflated ballon, and through a chair at me sending me to er. Safetly first