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When Nursing Homes Overuse Restraints

Posted on April 23, 2018 in Nursing Home Abuse

Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysSometimes, a nursing home resident needs to be retrained in some way. In some cases, confusion or aggression related to a mental illness or dementia can make a nursing home resident act out in ways that could hurt another resident, a staff member, or themselves. In other situations, patients must be secured so that they do not hurt themselves while waking up from surgery or when recovering from certain medical procedures. It is understandable that doctors, nurses, and other staff have means to control residents who are acting dangerously, but too often, unfortunately, restraints do more damage than they prevent.

Physical Restraints Which Inhibit Movement

It is often necessary for nursing home staff to limit a resident’s movement. In order to do this, they may use physical restraints such as straps, belts, vests, limb ties, wheelchair brakes, and bedside rails. The misuse or overuse of restraints such as these can cause nursing home residents to suffer injuries such as:

  • Diminished muscle strength and balance;
  • Bruises and cuts;
  • Urinary incontinence;
  • Constipation;
  • Decubitus ulcers, also called bedsores;
  • Respiratory complications;
  • Malnutrition;
  • Reduced cardiovascular endurance; and
  • Feelings of agitation, depression, anxiety, and helplessness.

If you a loved one has suffered one of these injuries after being restrained by nursing home employees, you may have a valid personal injury case.

Chemical Restraints

Physical restraints such as straps or rails are the most commonly used way to restrain a nursing home resident who is a danger to themselves or others, but sometimes, a nursing home facility will also use chemical restraints to manage residents. This can include giving residents antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, sedatives, anxiolytics, sleeping pills, or extra doses of an already-prescribed medication in order to restrain their movement.

Antipsychotic medication overprescription has been a known issue in nursing homes for years. The most commonly prescribed antipsychotic medications in nursing homes include Risperdal, Seroquel, and Zyprexa. These medications are designed to treat serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, many residents being given these pills do not have a medical condition which would necessitate them. Nursing home staff sometimes use medication such as this to sedate residents and make them “easier to manage.”

A study published by Human Rights Watch found that an outrageous 179,000 nursing home residents are currently being given antipsychotic drugs even though they do not have a condition which requires the use of the drugs. What is even more disturbing is that antipsychotic drugs such as haloperidol, aripiprazole, and clozapine have a “black box” notice which include the FDA’s warning about the drug’s association with premature death in elderly patients.

Speak with a Qualified Lawyer

At Schwartz Injury Law, we believe that those individuals who require nursing home care deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. If your loved one was injured by unjustified restraint while staying in a nursing home, contact an experienced Chicago nursing home injury attorney to discuss your case. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call 312-535-4625 today.



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