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Nursing homes shouldn’t drug residents to make their care easier

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Nursing Home Abuse

Providing daily support for older adults is a challenging profession. Those living in nursing homes may have physical or mental conditions that make them dependent on their caregivers. Some people become more combative as they age, making them very difficult for nursing home workers to manage. Others may struggle with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Their confusion might create support challenges for the professionals tending to them.

The workers in nursing home facilities are often responsible for dozens of residents. They may need to limit how much time they spend providing support for any one individual. This may lead to some workers using medication or chemical restraints to control resident conduct.

Drugging residents isn’t appropriate

There are sometimes situations in which the only way to keep a resident safe is to medicate them. These situations include when someone becomes aggressive or attempts to injure themselves. Restraining them physically or with certain medications may be necessary for the protection of the resident while they are volatile.

Best practices at nursing homes allow for the use of chemical restraints, including sedatives, when it is necessary for the immediate safety of a resident, other residents or care providers. However, there need to be records affirming that the situation justified the use of drugs to incapacitate or calm someone.

Just as it is inappropriate for nursing home workers to physically restrain someone for their convenience, it is also inappropriate to drug them to make them more compliant. If family members discover that nursing home workers repeatedly, inappropriately medicated their family member, they may have grounds to take legal action against the facility.

Particularly in situations where chemical restraints have led to medical consequences for a nursing home resident, it may be reasonable to request financial compensation from the facility that engaged in inappropriate care practices. If family members take legal action against a nursing home, they could receive compensation to cover the costs of treating their loved one or moving them to a new facility. A lawsuit might also lead to the nursing home adjusting its care standards for residents.

Ultimately, speaking up when a nursing home has done something unsafe or unethical – and seeking legal guidance accordingly – can help someone to protect a loved one and other residents at a negligent or abusive facility.