Physical & Chemical Constraints in Nursing Home Abuse
As loved ones age, we may need to seek additional care to ensure their safety and well-being. For some, this involves placing them in a nursing home. Unfortunately, some nursing homes engage in abuse by using physical and chemical constraints.
Physical and chemical constraints are ways that nursing homes can control residents through the use of restraints, sedatives, and other drugs. If you suspect the facility to be using physical or chemical constraints on your loved one, do not hesitate to reach out to Leifer & Ramirez. Our Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse lawyers are here to help you with your claim against the facility for harming your loved one.
What Are Physical & Chemical Constraints?
Physical constraints are any method used to limit a resident’s mobility or physical activity. Here are five common examples of physical constraints used in nursing homes:
- Restraints. A restraint is a device used to restrict a resident’s movement, such as a bed rail, wheelchair lap belt, or wrist and ankle cuff.
- Chair or bed exit alarms. These are alarms that are placed on chairs and beds to alert staff when a resident is attempting to get up from their chair or bed.
- Physical force. This involves using force to control a resident, such as pushing a resident to get them to comply with staff orders.
- Isolation. Sometimes, staff may isolate a resident in their room or a secluded area as a form of punishment.
- Bedrails. Bedrails are often used to keep the resident from falling off the bed. However, bedrails can be used to keep the resident from getting out of bed altogether.
Chemical constraints are any method used to control a resident’s behavior through the use of drugs. Here are five common examples of chemical constraints used in nursing homes:
- Antipsychotics. Antipsychotic drugs are used to treat mental illness, but they can also be used to control behavior in residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Sedatives. Sedatives are drugs that induce sleep and reduce anxiety; they can be used to control the resident’s behavior.
- Antidepressants. Antidepressant drugs are used to treat depression, but they can also be used to control behavior in residents.
- Pain medication. Pain medications can be used to sedate residents and keep them quiet.
- Anti-anxiety medication. Anti-anxiety drugs are used to treat anxiety, but they can also be used to control behavior in residents.
Physical and chemical constraints are serious issues that can harm residents in nursing homes. It is important to be vigilant and aware of your loved one’s care in nursing homes.
Why Do Nursing Homes Use Physical & Chemical Constraints?
Nursing homes may use physical and chemical constraints for a variety of reasons. Physical constraints are often used to prevent residents from hurting themselves or others. For example, restraints may be used to prevent a resident from getting out of bed and falling. Chemical constraints are often used to make residents easier to manage. For example, antipsychotic drugs may be used to calm a resident with dementia who is agitated or aggressive.
Note: According to a study published in 2022 in the National Library of Medicine, more than 90% of nursing homes in 2020 reported using at least one type of restrictive practice in the 12-month period.
The Adverse Effects of Using Physical & Chemical Constraints
Using physical and chemical constraints can have adverse effects on residents’ physical and mental health. Physical constraints can cause physical injuries such as bruises, pressure sores, and fractures. They can also lead to emotional distress, feelings of helplessness, and depression. Chemical constraints can cause a range of side effects such as dizziness, confusion, and memory problems. Long-term use of these drugs can increase the risk of falls, stroke, and other health issues.
Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Using Physical & Chemical Constraints on Your Loved One?
Yes, you can sue a nursing home for using physical and chemical constraints on your loved one. Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide a safe and secure environment for their residents. If they fail to do so by using physical and chemical constraints, you may have a legal claim for nursing home abuse. Speak to an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options.
Discuss Your Options with Leifer & Ramirez
If you suspect that physical or chemical constraints are being used on your loved one, speak up and take action. Remember, nursing homes have a legal duty to provide a safe and secure environment, and if they fail to do so, you have legal options. Contact our lawyers at Leifer & Ramirez to get a free case evaluation. Call 561-660-9421.