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A new report details the use of chemical restraint in nursing homes across the country. The report created by Human Rights Watch alleges that close to 200,000 nursing home patients are unnecessarily subjected to antipsychotic medications as a form of chemical restraint.
While physical restraint that harms the patient is often easily classified as nursing home abuse, more patients and their family members are coming forward to allege instances of chemical restraint, particularly in cases of dementia patients.
The new report claims that these victims have had their health put at risk through the use of chemical restraint. This is viewed as a form of nursing home abuse, including the rampant use of medications that are meant to calm elderly residents down altogether. There are serious risks when using these antipsychotic medications like Risperdal, Seroquel, and others, which could lead to negative side effects when prescribed for only the purpose of chemical restraint.
Many of these patients who are the victims of chemical restraint have dementia and studies indicate that antipsychotics have no advantages as far as treatment for dementia patients. However, this could increase the patient’s chance of serious injuries and deaths.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already warned about the risks of chemical restraints, particularly with dementia patients. The Human Rights Watch included interviews with more than 300 individuals across Kansas, New York, Illinois, Texas, Florida, and California over the course of six months.
Phone interviews and secondary source interviews were also conducted and the research project identified that more than 179,000 nursing home residents, every single week, are provided unnecessary antipsychotic medications for the purpose of chemical restraint.
The residents are frequently pressured to give their consent to this treatment and in many cases, the family members and residents did not provide informed consent about the use of medication.
Furthermore, many of the patients involved in this particular research study say that they were never told about the benefits or the risks of going through this particular treatment.
According to the report, this is not consistent with human rights ethics and norms across the world and the report also identified that while there are strict laws in the United States directly against these activities, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services does not even enforce these strictly enough to protect residents from the dangerous harm posed by chemical restraints.
The report’s findings echo other reports about indications of nursing home abuse and neglect by sharing that minimum staffing plays a crucial role in damage done to victims. The report says that many nursing home employees are overworked and have too many residents assigned to them, which may cause them to use chemical restraints as one method to reduce their workload and problems.
If you believe you have grounds for a nursing home abuse lawsuit based on chemical restraint, consult with an experienced attorney at McDonald Worley today.