Most people would agree that nursing home staff have a challenging job. While many nursing home residents are kind, cooperative, and simply want to live their lives as comfortably as possible, sometimes physical and mental health issues cause nursing home residents to act obstinately or aggressively. In some cases, a resident may require sedation through the use of chemical restraints. However, restraining a resident through the use of medication should always be a last resort and should only be used when the resident is a danger to himself, herself, or others.
Sedating Residents with Medication is Regulated By Law
Nursing home staff should never use psychiatric medication to sedate a resident unless the situation absolutely requires it. Sadly, studies show that many nursing home employees are over-administering sedating medication to residents simply for their own convenience. Even worse, some nursing home staff have been caught using restraints as a form of punishment. Not only is this practice immoral, it is also in direct violation of several laws including the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.
The Nursing Home Care Act clearly states that “Neither restraints nor confinements shall be employed for the purpose of punishment or for the convenience of any facility personnel.” Furthermore, physical and chemical restrains must only be used when ordered by a physician and the need for restraints must be documented in the resident’s clinical record.
Studies Show That Chemical Restraints Are Being Majorly Overused
One of the major concerns when it comes to using psychiatric medication to restrain nursing home residents is the affect these medications will have on the residents mental and physical health. Antipsychotic medication, medicines used to treat mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are currently being used as a means of sedating residents even through the medication is not designed for this purpose.
In fact, antipsychotics have a “black box” FDA warning which states that the medication can increase the risk of death in elderly individuals with dementia. Nevertheless, a recent study conducted by the Human Rights Watch found that nearly 180,000 nursing home residents are receiving antipsychotic medication even through they do not have a mental condition which the drug is designed to treat.
Contact a Chicago, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one were given medication in a nursing home which was intended to act as a chemical restraint, you may have a valid personal injury claim. Call 312-535-4625 to schedule a free consultation regarding your case with an experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney from Schwartz Injury Law.