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Avoidable and Unjustified Restraint Continues to Be a Problem in Nursing Homes

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

Illinois nursing home abuse lawyerIllinois law dictates that individuals receiving treatment at a nursing home be free from abuse and neglect. Tragically, because of issues like understaffing and inadequate staff training, nursing home neglect and abuse continue to occur. Often nursing home abuse does not look like other forms of abuse. One way nursing home and assisted living residents are cruelly mistreated is with unreasonable restraint.

Most long-term care facilities have patients with cognitive or medical problems who may occasionally need to be restrained from moving. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are dramatically overusing both physical and chemical restraints. Residents can suffer physical injuries as well as emotional scars from unreasonable restraint. Unwarranted restraint is a major violation of the rights of the nursing home patient. If you or a loved one has been unreasonably restrained, you may be entitled to compensation.

Physical Restraints Without Justification is Abuse

Residents in a nursing home should be treated with compassion and given as much autonomy as safely possible. Unscrupulous or ignorant nursing home staff may use chemical and physical restraints as a means of keeping “high maintenance” residents subdued. Physical means of restraining residents include items such as straps, ties, bed guardrails, tightly-tucked sheets, and arm and hand restraints. Any type of physical force that restricts a resident’s movement is considered restraint as well. Physically restraining a patient should be reserved only for times a resident presents a risk to himself or others. If physical restraints are used excessively or in a way which causes a resident injury, this may be considered abuse.

Chemical Restraints Often Take the Form of Antipsychotic Medication

In addition to giving residents extra doses of their prescribed medications, some nursing homes use dangerous antipsychotic medication to keep their residents lethargic and sedated. One recent study showed that an astounding 179,000 nursing home residents are currently being given antipsychotic drugs without medical justification. These medications are meant to treat severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and are not approved for treating dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Even more shockingly, antipsychotics such as haloperidol and risperidone require a "black box warning" from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautioning that the pills increase the risk of death in elderly people with dementia.

Health Consequences of Unreasonable Restraint

Unreasonable restriction of patients’ movement through physical and chemical means can result in serious injury and mental anguish. Bodily consequences of excessive restraint include:

  • Bed sores (decubitus ulcers);
  • Respiratory distress;
  • Lacerations and bruises;
  • Urinary incontinence;
  • Malnutrition and dehydration;
  • Decreased muscle strength and balance;
  • Decreased cardiovascular endurance and
  • Increased risk of death from serious injuries such as head injuries.

Just as concerning, unreasonable restraint also takes a toll on residents’ mental well-being. Nursing home residents who have been abused through the use of over-restraint may experience feelings of shame, insecurity, fear, anxiety, hostility, social isolation, and abandonment.

Let Us Help

If you or someone you love has been mistreated in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact a compassionate Cook County unreasonable restraint attorney to get the legal guidance you and your family need. Call 312-535-4625 to schedule a free initial consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/05/583435517/risky-antipsychotic-drugs-still-overprescribed-in-nursing-homes

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2564468/

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/020272s056,020588s044,021346s033,021444s03lbl.pdf

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