Physical and Chemical Restraints – Friend or Foe?
Physical and Chemical Restraints Dangerous to Nursing Home Patients
It is a common practice among nursing homes today to use restraints, both physical and chemical, to medically treat a patient. Not all restraints are illegal, as there are proper as well as improper uses of restraints. Restraints are used correctly when they are used to keep patients safe or to treat medical symptoms.
Nursing homes often think that the use of physical restraints is necessary to improve the safety of their patients. However, current research suggests the exact opposite, that they cause more risks than benefits. Nursing home patients will often not understand why they are restrained. They become agitated and anxious and will squirm and wiggle to attempt to get out of the physical restraint, sometimes causing them extreme physical injury. Many patients who try to escape the physical restraints die from strangulation or become seriously injured when they are trapped in bed rails or fall from their beds.
Chemical restraints are achieved through the use of drugs in order to control the patient’s behavior or restrict his or her freedom. Some of the most commonly used sedatives are Haldol, Xanax, Risperdal, Benzodiazepine, Lorazepam, Mellaril or Navine. Nursing homes may attempt to use these drugs to intentionally sedate a resident who is more active, as opposed to using safer alternatives (such as redirecting residents, providing activities that stimulate the residents’ attention, talking with the resident in a calm manner, providing a calm environment and staff that doesn’t stress the resident). The prescription of psychoactive drugs to control the patient’s behavior without adequate medical justification is illegal.
As the media continues to report instances of improper use of physical and chemical restraints used on nursing home patients, they bring a common nursing home abuse issue to the forefront. Improper use of restraints can lead to serious emotional injuries, in addition to a number of physical injuries, including bed sores, bruises, fractures, and in the most serious cases, wrongful death. Many nursing home abuse lawsuits stem from improper restraints used against nursing home patients.
York Law Firm has obtained numerous settlements and verdicts on behalf of our nursing home clients who have sustained injury due to improper use of restraints. If you are concerned about physical restraints or drugs being used to control/sedate your loved one, please contact York Law Firm at (916) 643-2200. We are here to help.