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General Laws

Section 8. Any person who transports a person with an intellectual disability to or from a facility for any purpose authorized under this chapter shall not use any restraint which is unnecessary for the safety of the person being transported or other persons likely to come in contact with him.

Restraint of a person with an intellectual disability may only be used in cases of emergency, such as the occurrence of, or serious threat of, extreme violence, personal injury, or attempted suicide; provided, however, that written authorization for such restraint is given by the superintendent or director of the facility or by a physician designated by the superintendent for this purpose who is present at the time of the emergency or if the superintendent or director or designated physician is not present at the time of the emergency, non-chemical means of restraint may be used for a period of one hour provided that within one hour the person in restraint shall be examined by the superintendent, director or designated physician. Provided further, that if said examination has not occurred within one hour, the person may be restrained for up to an additional one hour period until such examination is conducted, and the superintendent, director, or designated physician shall attach to the restraint form a written report as to why the examination was not completed by the end of the first hour of restraint.

Any minor placed in restraint shall be examined within fifteen minutes of the order for restraint by a physician or, if a physician is not available, by a registered nurse or a certified physician assistant; provided, however, that said minor shall be examined by a physician within one hour of the order for restraint. A physician or, if a physician is not available, a registered nurse or a certified physician assistant, shall review the restraint order, by personal examination of the minor or consultation with ward staff attending the minor, every hour thereafter.

No minor shall be secluded for more than two hours in any twenty-four hour period; provided, however, that no such seclusion of a minor may occur except in a facility with authority to use such seclusion after said facility has been inspected and specially certified by the department. The department shall issue regulations establishing procedures by which a facility may be specially certified with authority to seclude a minor. Such regulations shall provide for review and approval or disapproval by the commissioner of a biannual application by the facility which shall include (i) a comprehensive statement of the facility’s policies and procedures for the utilization and monitoring of restraint of minors including a statistical analysis of the facility’s actual use of such restraint, and (ii) a certification by the facility of its ability and intent to comply with all applicable statutes and regulations regarding physical space, staff training, staff authorization, record keeping, monitoring and other requirements for the use of restraints.

Any use of restraint on a minor exceeding one hour in any twenty-four hour period shall be reviewed within two working days by the director of the facility. The director shall forward a copy of his or her report on each such instance of restraint to the human rights committee of that facility and, in the event that there is no human rights committee, to the appropriate body designated by the commissioner of developmental services. The director shall also compile a record of every instance of restraint in the facility and shall forward a copy of said report on a monthly basis to the human rights committee or the body designated by the commissioner of mental health.

No order of restraint for an individual shall be valid for a period of more than three hours beyond which time it may be renewed upon personal examination by the superintendent, director, authorized physician or, for adults, by a registered nurse or a certified physician assistant; provided, however, that no adult shall be restrained for more than six hours beyond which time an order may be renewed only upon personal examination by a physician. The reasons for the original use of restraint, the reason for its continuation after each renewal and the reason for its cessation shall be noted upon the restraining form by the superintendent, director or authorized physician or, when applicable, by the registered nurse or certified physician assistant at the time of each occurrence.

When a designated physician is not present at the time and site of the emergency, an order for chemical restraint may be issued by a designated physician who has determined, after telephone consultation with a physician, registered nurse or certified physician assistant who is present at the time and site of the emergency and who has personally examined the patient, that such chemical restraint is the least restrictive, most appropriate alternative available; provided, however, that the medication so ordered has been previously authorized as part of the individual’s current treatment plan.

No person shall be kept in restraint without a person in attendance specially trained to understand, assist and afford therapy to the person in restraint. The person may be in attendance immediately outside the room in full view of the patient when an individual is being secluded without mechanical restraint; provided, however, that in emergency situations when a person specially trained is not available, an adult may be kept in restraint unattended for a period not to exceed two hours. In that event, the person kept in restraints must be observed at least every five minutes; provided, further that the superintendent, director, or designated physician shall attach to the restraint form a written report as to why the specially trained attendant was not available. The maintenance of any adult in restraint for more than eight hours in any twenty-four hour period must be authorized by the superintendent or facility director or the person specifically designated to act in the absence of the superintendent or facility director; provided, however, that when such restraint is authorized in the absence of the superintendent or facility director, such authorization must be reviewed by the superintendent or facility director upon his return.

No “P.R.N.” or “as required” authorization of restraint may be written. No restraint is authorized except as specified in this section in any public or private facility for the care and treatment of persons with an intellectual disability.

No later than twenty-four hours after the period of restraint, a copy of the restraint form shall be delivered to the person who was in restraint. A place shall be provided on the form or on attachments thereto, for the person to comment on the circumstances leading to the use of restraint and on the manner of restraint used.

A copy of the restraint form and any such attachments shall become part of the chart of the person with an intellectual disability. Copies of all restraint forms and attachments shall be sent to the commissioner who shall review them and sign them within thirty days, and statistical records shall be kept therefor for each facility and each designated physician. Furthermore, such reports, excluding identification of persons with an intellectual disability, shall be made available to the general public at the department’s central office.

Responsibility and liability for the implementation of the provisions of this section shall rest with the department, the superintendent or director of each facility or the physician designated by such superintendent or director for this purpose.

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