Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1305.10. Mistreatment, neglect or abuse prohibited; use of restraints; seclusion; “time-out” procedures.

(a) Mistreatment, neglect or abuse in any form of any person shall be prohibited. The routine use of all forms of restraint shall be eliminated. Physical or chemical restraint shall be employed only when absolutely necessary to prevent a person from seriously injuring himself or herself, or others. Restraint shall not be employed as a punishment, for the convenience of staff or as a substitute for programs. In any event, restraints may only be applied if alternative techniques have been attempted and failed (such failure to be documented in the person’s record) and only if such restraints impose the least possible restriction consistent with their purposes. Each facility shall have a written policy defining:

(1) The use of restraints;

(2) The professionals who may authorize such use; and

(3) The mechanism for monitoring and controlling such use.

(b) Only professionals designated by the Director may order the use of restraints. Such orders shall be in writing and shall not be in force for over 12 hours. A person placed in restraint shall be checked at least every 30 minutes by staff trained in the use of restraints and a written record of such checks shall be kept.

(c) Mechanical restraints shall be designed for minimum discomfort and used so as not to cause physical injury to the person. Opportunity for motion and exercise shall be provided for a period of not less than 10 minutes during each 2 hours in which restraint is employed.

(d) Seclusion, defined as a placement of a person alone in a locked room, shall not be employed. Legitimate “time-out” procedures may be utilized under close and direct professional supervision as a technique in behavior-shaping programs. Each facility shall have a written policy regarding “time-out” procedures.

(e) Alleged instances of mistreatment, neglect or abuse of any person shall be reported immediately to the Director and the Director shall inform the person’s counsel, parent or guardian who petitioned for the commitment, and the person’s advocate for a person with an intellectual disability of any such instances. There shall be a written report that the allegation has been thoroughly and promptly investigated (with the findings stated therein). Employees of facilities who report such instances of mistreatment, neglect, or abuse shall not be subjected to adverse action by the facility because of the report.

(f) A person’s counsel, parent or guardian who petitioned for commitment and a person’s intellectual disability advocate shall be notified in writing whenever restraints are used and whenever an instance of mistreatment, neglect or abuse occurs.