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Exceptions to involuntary seclusion

Involuntary seclusion is a type of abuse that sometimes takes place in nursing homes in Indiana. It happens when a resident does not want to be apart from other residents, but he or she is locked away in a separate area anyway. This solitary confinement can be detrimental to a resident's physical, emotional and mental well-being.

However, it is important to note that all situations in which a resident is on his or her own, even against that resident's will, are cases of involuntary seclusion.

For example, some residents -- especially those with cognitive issues -- need special treatment or care, and they are put in a separate area to get that care. If it's being provided and the seclusion is not being done for an abusive purpose, this is not a problem.

Additionally, a resident may have to be secluded from the other residents if he or she becomes combative, tries to escape the facility, is being aggressive and fighting with the workers, or has done something else that brings about safety concerns. Temporary seclusion in an emergency situation may be fine.

As noted above, one of the issues that nursing homes have to deal with is cognitive impairment. This sometimes leads them to need to do things that are against a person's wishes, even though the staff is not intending to harm the resident. That's why these types of exceptions are in place.

This makes a nursing home neglect case a bit tricky. You may feel a loved one was abused, while the staff may say they didn't do anything wrong. This can lead to a long and drawn-out court case while the truth is sought, and so it's important to know how to navigate the legal landscape.

Source: In.gov, "§483.13(b) Abuse," accessed Aug. 29, 2016

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