Nursing Homes Using Tax Dollars To Restrain Residents

Nursing Home Negligence

Your tax dollars may be going to your local nursing home to help them improperly restrain their patients. There have been a number of complaints around the country that nursing homes are improperly using what is known as “chemical restraints” to keep residents immobile and that residents are being killed through their use. “Chemical restraint” is when a person is force-fed powerful psychotropic drugs to control their behavior. They are only legal for a nursing home to use if they are needed to keep a resident from harming himself or others. Overdosage of these drugs can result in death or severe neurological damage. Research has shown that up to 15,000 nursing home patients die each year from the improper use of these drugs. Tax-payers foot the bill for these drugs in most cases.

According to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, the usage rate of chemical restraints in nursing homes has been rapidly increasing since 1995. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, eight percent of residents are improperly given chemical restraints each year. Furthermore, the use of chemical restraints is responsible for one percent of all nursing home complaints.

Chemical restraints may be misused in a number of ways. The dosage of the drugs may be too high, the duration of their usage may be improper, residents may not be monitored properly when restrained, or they may be used when there are no symptoms present in the resident to indicate that they need them to keep themselves from harming themselves or others.

The improper use of chemical restraints will continue to plague nursing homes residents if action isn’t taken. I believe that action should be taken by state and federal legislatures to ensure that nursing homes properly monitor patients using these drugs, or even ban the usage of these drugs completely unless a resident has gone through rigorous examination to establish that they are absolutely necessary. If you suspect that a loved one is improperly given chemical restraints, file a complaint against the nursing home, and if possible, move them to a different facilitiy. If you suspect that a loved one died due to the improper usage of chemical restraints, consult an attorney immediately to find out whether criminal or civil action should be taken against the nursing facility.