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Did You Know?
Informed Consent Prior to the Use of Restraints


Nursing homes must obtain the informed consent of the resident or resident’s representative before administering psychotherapeutic drugs, physical restraints, or the prolonged use of a device that may lead to the inability to regain use of a normal bodily function.

Nursing homes often use drugs like Haldol or Risperdal to control the behavior of residents. Before they can administer these chemical restraints (or any physical restraints), nursing homes must disclose to the resident all information that is material to the resident’s decision whether or not to accept the restraints. Such information includes the reasons for the restraints, the risks involved, and the right to accept or refuse.

If the resident is capable of granting or withholding consent, only the resident may do so. If the resident lacks mental capacity, then the resident’s representative may grant or refuse consent. Under California law, persons who may act as the resident’s representative include a conservator, an agent designated under a valid power of attorney for health care and the patient’s next of kin.

For questions about informed consent, contact CANHR at (800) 474-1116. Report violations of residents’ informed consent rights to your district Department of Health Services, Licensing & Certification Division.