Chemical Restraints as Nursing Home Abuse
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act states that individuals living in nursing homes have the right to live free of unnecessary and/or inappropriate use of chemical restraints. This is true for all residents, including those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Instead of using drugs and other restraints on patients, nursing home doctors, nurses and other staff are required to follow individualized, patient-centric treatment plans. Straying from those plans, or failing to create a plan, can be a sign of nursing home abuse.
Signs of Chemical Restraint Use
Chemical restraints are any drug “used for discipline or convenience and not required to treat medical symptoms.” Commonly used antipsychotic drugs include Seroquel, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Abilify, Clozaril, Geodon and Symbax.
Even if your loved one is not required to take antipsychotics for proper care, you should still monitor your loved one’s health and behavior to ensure that the nursing is not using these drugs as a form of restraint. If your loved one is on one of these medications, you will likely notice one or many of these signs and symptoms:
- Decreased fine motor skills
You should take great to care to understand all of the medications your loved one takes on a daily basis to ensure he or she is taking in only what is necessary for proper treatment.
Nursing Home Staff and the Use of Restraints
There are many reasons why a doctor, nurse, orderly or another individual may sedate a nursing home resident. Some of those reasons tie to the patient, who may be more active or more challenging to handle than others. Many other reasons relate back to the staff itself, especially in situations of understaffing. All of these reasons are completely inappropriate for introducing and maintaining chemical restraint usage.
Government Action on Drugs as Restraints
In May 2011, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that nursing homes administered 22 percent of atypical antipsychotic drugs outside of required national standards. This means providers gave drugs in an excessive amount, over a longer-than-necessary time period, without indicating a proper reason, without proper monitoring, or in cases where patients reacted adversely to the drug.
In response, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a partnership in 2012 to improve care of individuals with dementia and to lower the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs. After first quarter 2013, CMS found that approximately nine percent fewer residents are on these types of medications. While this is an improvement, there is still an excess of chemical restraint use in long term care facilities throughout Illinois and across the country.
Learn More by Contacting The Rooth Law Firm
At The Rooth Law Firm, we offer free initial consultations to individuals who believe their loved ones suffer from some form of nursing home abuse or neglect. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys in Illinois today to discuss your concerns and to learn how we can be of help to you and your family. You may reach us via email or you may call us at 877-356-3007.