Nursing Homes: Psych Meds and Physical Restraints Use
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento nursing home abuse lawyer. When people are unable to care for their family members any longer, they often turn to the professional care of nursing homes for help. Unfortunately, many patients wind up neglected by the nursing home and are forced into obedience either through the use of physical restraints or through sedatives that act on the neurologic system. It is easy for nursing homes to overuse these tools in an effort to force patients to comply with their demands quickly. Today I will discuss this issue and explain how you can spot nursing home abuse.
Using Restraints and Medication Without Valid Reason Constitutes Abuse
Everyone looking at nursing homes should ask how often the nursing home uses physical restraints or medications to force compliance on their tenants. Nursing homes that have to reach for these tools at a high rate clearly have an issue keeping their residents happy. This is a sign of poor care but also a sign of physical abuse in the nursing home, especially if these tools are used without reason. In particular, patients who suffer from dementia struggle to remain organized and are prone to acute decompensation that could catch nursing home employees off-guard. This is a common reason for nursing homes to use restrains and medications as a crutch inappropriately. A recent article was published that revealed that close to 40% of nursing home residents suffer this kind of abuse on a regular basis. There has been a recent push to force nursing homes to place patients first, especially when their tenants suffer from dementia, and reduce the use of physical restraints which when used can worsen dementia. These initiatives have been instituted with success at over 40 nursing homes across the country and have seen positive results; however, this is not nearly enough.
Reducing the Use of Restraints is not Enough
While patient-centered care strives chiefly to reduce the use of restraints, this isn’t enough. The study and initiatives have taken these measures a step further. While many nursing homes will cut their use of restraints and increase their use of medications, the nursing homes above did not increase their reliance on psychiatric medications. Of note, the centers instituted educational programs to inform the staff on when to use these medications and when not to use the medications. Programs that are overmedicating nursing home patients place them at risk for falls that could lead to hip fractures. Nursing homes that promote vigilance among their staff place their staff in a position to intervene before the use of restraints and medications are necessary. This is the key to reducing restraints and medications in nursing homes.
Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento nursing home abuse lawyer. If your family member has suffered neglect or abuse as a result of restraints or medication overuse, please call my office at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. If you are reaching out from outside of Sacramento, feel free to call my toll free number at (800) 404-5400.
I have been a longtime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We are a group of top-rated US trial attorneys who have obtained million dollar case settlements and verdicts.
The results I have obtained for my clients are available on our past verdicts and settlements page.