A few months ago, you helped your aging father move into a California nursing home. Whenever you visit your father recently, he seems out of sorts and not as lively as he used to be. Could the nursing home staff use chemical restraints?
Human Rights Watch explains chemical restraints and their effects on older adults. Determine whether you and your loved one may have an elder abuse case.
Nursing home residents with dementia may receive antipsychotic drugs, also known as chemical restraints, so facility staff may control unruly behavior, distress or displays of pain. Stressed nursing staff members do not always wait for a proper diagnosis before administering medication, nor do they always let a resident’s family know about the drug use or get their consent.
Abusing human rights
Chemically restraining older adults amounts to a violation of human rights and federal law. Even when officials uncover evidence of pharmaceutical misuse, nursing homes do not always receive adequate punishment. Currently, the FDA does not accept antipsychotic medication for patients with dementia, and federal law forbids the use of such drugs without sufficient medical need.
If a nursing home resident becomes anxious or rowdy, the nursing home should inform the person or her or his proxy of treatment options. The resident or proxy must also know about the option to refuse those choices.
Frightening long-term care facility residents
What should you look for to determine if the nursing home staff chemically restrains your father? Antipsychotic drugs often leave older adults feeling confused, entranced and stripped of their personality. If your father sleeps more than usual, improper drug use could be the reason.
Do not let the nursing home staff escape justice for wrongdoing. Take measures to protect your father from abuse.