Chemical Restraint in Long Island Nursing Homes
Forced Drugging of Nursing Home Residents
As many as one in seven residents of nursing homes in Long Island and across the country are being prescribed antipsychotic drugs for the treatment of dementia and other conditions, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This is despite the fact that such drugs, including Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify and Geodon, have not been approved for dementia and are actually recognized as greatly increasing the risk of death and other serious side effects. The Food and Drug Administration has warned doctors against the use of antipsychotic drugs for dementia patients, yet the drugs continue to be prescribed at alarming rates.
Antipsychotic medications are not the only drugs which have become frighteningly widespread in nursing homes. Benzodiazepines, a class of sedative and antianxiety drugs which are marketed under widely known brand names such as Xanax, are among the most commonly used types of prescription medications used in nursing homes. They are also the most common cause of drug-induced dementia among elderly patients. Their side effects have been reported to include confusion, weakness, fainting, depression, impairment of intellect, paranoia, panic, hallucinations and aggressive behavior. Further, a National Institutes of Health report found that the use of this type of drug increases the risk of falls by 44 percent among elderly patients, which exposes the patient to the danger of a serious bone fracture or even a fatal injury.
Why Nursing Homes Use Chemical Restraint
Why are so many nursing home residents being placed on powerful psychoactive drugs? The term for this phenomenon is chemical restraint. To put it simply, many nursing home caretakers recognize that it is frowned upon to place a patient in actual restraints such as by strapping him or her down to a bed – though this does happen with alarming frequency – and instead they choose to achieve the same effect by drugging the patient into submission. Elderly people who have been sent to live in a nursing home are rarely satisfied with the current state of their lives, and whether this unhappiness manifests itself as severe depression or as uncooperative and hostile behavior, the staff often feels overwhelmed or exasperated and become desperate to find a solution. Rather than helping the resident, however, they use drugs to place him or her in a state of docile – zombielike – calm. The resident is forced to spend his or her days and nights under the influence of powerful drugs, and the family often end up wondering why their loved one no longer seems the same and may even feel that they have lost him or her.
Let a Long Island Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help
Whether the use of chemical restraint is due to understaffing in the facility, lack of proper training of caretakers or even institutional policy, it is inexcusable in all but the most extreme circumstances. Not only does it rob the victim of his or her dignity, it can also result in serious and often irreversible side effects and health complications. In the worst cases it may even be fatal. If you believe that your loved one has been subjected to forced drugging at the hands of nursing home staff and want to take action by filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim, contact us now at Jaghab Jaghab & Jaghab, P.C. for a free consultation to discuss the matter and find out more about how we can help. By taking action now, you may not only be able to recover financial compensation, but also secure justice and expose the wrongful actions of the nursing home so that others are not similarly abused.