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Ombudsman program hosts restraint reduction training

Ukiah, CA - On July 24, 22 nursing home facility staff, county and nonprofit case management workers, service providers and ombudsmen volunteers gathered at the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency’s Social Services Branch to hear Lumetra healthcare consultant Mary Larson, RN, MSN, CPHQ present “A Person-Centered Approach to Restraint Reduction.” The training was hosted by the Area Agency on Aging, Ombudsman Program of Lake and Mendocino Counties.

The agenda included background information on physical restraint use in California long-term care facilities, definitions, types and risks of physical restraints, evidence of how restraints impact falls, the use of alarms, and strategies to minimize restraint usage. Attendees joined in hand-on activities that included the installation of common restraint devices on several participants.

At the end of the training, participants were able to identify conventional and unconventional physical restraints, define the risks associated with restraints, and understand, appreciate and implement a person-centered care approach to reduce and prevent restraint use at their facilities.

California nursing home residents are twice as likely to be restrained as residents in nursing homes nationally (10% versus 5%). Studies have proven that physical restraint reduction does not lead to increased falls or injury. To the contrary, using restraints causes lower extremity weakness and deconditioning and may actually lead to falls.

Restraint reduction training strategies have resulted in nursing facilities across California reducing their use of restraints noticeably since 2004. Those homes working with Lumetra during an 18 month-long patient-centered care collaborative have shown considerable reductions in the use of physical restraints.

Lumetra is a nonprofit independent consulting organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety, efficiency and integrity of health care. Lumetra provides an array of professional services that include medical review, health information technology, quality evaluation and improvement, marketing and communications, and data analysis to private and public entities. For more information, please visit

The Ombudsman program, a direct service of the Area Agency for Aging of Lake and Mendocino Counties, visits long-term care facilities and investigates elder abuse. Staff and volunteer program volunteers advocate for the care, rights and dignity of each resident in problems with insurance, entitlements, legal matters and other areas. The program also provides information to families, friends and prospective long-term care residents. Last year, Lake and Mendocino counties’ certified Ombudsmen investigated more than 770 complaints.

Ombudsman representatives complete 36 hours of training, 10 hour field internship and 12 hours a year of continuing education. They are certified by the California Department of Aging and accept assignment to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities throughout Lake and Mendocino counties.

For more information, or to become a volunteer, contact the Ombudsman Program of Lake and Mendocino Counties, 467-5835.

August 7, 2008

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