Unfortunately, the nursing home neglect attorneys in our office frequently deal with cases that involved the use of antipsychotic medications and other sedatives such as chemical restraints. Our attorneys are well-versed in the laws and statutes that govern this area of elder abuse. We have built up extensive experience preparing such cases for trial so that we know how to best serve your interests and recover damages that are just for the pain and suffering your loved one has had to endure.
Chemical restraints are drugs that are used in order to subdue nursing home patients, and are a form of nursing home abuse. Antipsychotics are the most commonly used chemical restraints. Designed for disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, antipsychotics are often used off-label to subdue patients who suffer from dementia-related agitation, as well. While some medical backing does exists to support the use of antipsychotics to treat mental illnesses, specialists stress the importance of using behavioral therapies as the main therapy to treat dementia, rather than pharmacological ones.
Dementia-related aggravation is linked to delirium, which can be triggered by polypharmacy, the use of too many drugs simultaneously. Therefore, it is inappropriate and illogical to treat such cases of delirium by adding even more medications to a patients’ drug routine. This practice can also be harmful. Polypharmacy increases the risk for side-effects, which for antipsychotics can include stroke, tremors, severe weight loss, slurred speech, psychosis, and even death.
Despite the fact that studies have shown that the practice can double the risk of death in dementia patients, many nursing homes continue to use antipsychotics to chemically restrain their patients. One of the major contributory reasons for this type of dangerous behavior is understaffing. When nursing homes are inadequately staffed, nurses find it necessary to chemically subdue their patients in order to make it easier to care for them without help. These sedating drugs are used so that extra personnel are not necessary for assistance in daily procedures. But it is a right of every nursing home patient to stay in a facility that has adequate staffing. A well-staffed facility has enough employees to supervise patients with dementia during the day, so it is unnecessary to use antipsychotic drugs purely as restraints. That lives are being put at risk for purposes of convenience is completely unacceptable and needs to be stopped.
Because the use of antipsychotics is so dangerous, and too often is a direct cause of death, it is important to understand the risks and take action against the use of chemical restraints. Although it is acceptable to use antipsychotics for the purpose of treating mental illness, there is no valid excuse for the use of antipsychotics to subdue any other patients. If your loved one’s nursing home is using dangerous medications as chemical restraints you must realize that this is a direct violation of his or her rights, as well as a flagrant form of elder abuse. Contact us today so we can review your case and ensure that your loved one receives just compensation for his or her suffering. Our attorneys specialize in nursing home neglect cases and are prepared to fight for your cause, taking the case through to trial if necessary. Our main goal is getting your loved one the compensation he or she deserves, so we will not accept any fees until a just and amenable outcome has been achieved. Discuss your case with us in a free consultation and see how we can help you fight for your loved one’s rights.